This is one of my favorite times of the year, the time to celebrate love. This month people celebrated the love they have for their spouses, their children, and their friends. Everyone buying or making their Valentine's gifts and cards, in an effort to express their love for someone else. I particularly enjoyed it when I would have our annual friendship party with the preschool children I worked with. It was sweet to see how happy they were to give and get cards and treats from their friends and teachers. The whole day was dedicated to friendship, kindness, and love. I remember my boss asking me, “What is the one thing you want these children to know when they move on to Kindergarten?” I said, “that they are loved.” He was taken aback at my response because he was thinking academically, but I was thinking the one thing these children need more than anything else is to feel loved.
When I was growing up, love was a foreign thing to me. I had no idea what it felt like to feel loved, cared about, or nurtured. I never heard the words, “I love you.” The loneliness and rejection I felt were at times, unbearable. I didn’t understand if there was something wrong with me or if I had done something wrong. I started to hate my life and myself. I decided I must be a horrible, worthless and unlovable person. There were many times I thought I didn’t want to be alive anymore. Suicide consumed my thoughts more often than not, depression was my only true friend, despair became my “comfort.”
But then I met Jesus. Jesus loved me at my worst. He loved me even when I didn’t want Him in my life. Jesus loved me, no matter how worthless and unlovable I felt. When I felt alone and rejected, *He wrapped His loving arms around me and showed me a different kind of comfort. *The Bible says He came to give us life, an abundant life. Jesus loved me so much that He was willing to give up His life so that I could live. That’s real love. You’ve heard the story before, Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for your sins. He conquered death and hell so that you and I can live forever in Heaven with Him. But there is so much more to that story. God, the creator of Heaven and earth, the King of all Kings, saw a world in despair. *He was so moved with love and compassion, that He wasn’t about to send anyone else, but rather He left His throne in Heaven, wrapped Himself in flesh, and became one of us. Jesus Christ came to this earth Himself to rescue us. Knowing full well that He would be rejected, shamed, accused, and crucified, He came anyway. That’s real love. *During His time on earth, Jesus showed people mercy, compassion, and truth. Jesus healed the crippled and blind and healed people of their sickness and diseases. He delivered people of demons and did many other miracles. He spent time teaching people, caring about people, and feeding people, even though He knew many of them would someday betray Him. That's real love! The kind of love that doesn’t give up on the people He came to save, no matter the circumstances.
You see, Jesus didn’t just come to show us the only way to Heaven, but He came to show us that He loves us with a real, unconditional love. Jesus loves us with the kind of love that was not only willing to take away our sins, but He was willing to take all the blame, and pay the price on the cross. That’s real love. That’s the love of Christ.
Matthew 9: 2-7
1 Timothy 3:16