THE PASSION FOR CHRIST
God's Love for His Son
Pastor David Lewis
GOD'S LOVE FOR TRINITY
As much as we talk and sing about the fact that God loved the world so much that He sent His Son, there is another love relationship that exceeds even ours. There is another relationship that is even more precious to God: the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
The love that you and I are privileged to share and experience as human beings is a direct result of the relationship that God the Father has with God the Son. Long before you and I came into the story, long before there was a planet Earth or a universe or even angels, there was the Trinity and they were not lonely. They did not live a life of unfulfilled desires and sit around saying, "You know, I am getting tired of just the three of us. We have to bring somebody else into this picture. What can we do? Maybe we can create something. We need somebody to love."
GOD CHOSE TO CREATE
No, God's love within the Trinity was complete. It was satisfying. God did not need another outlet. He simply chose to create one. Creation was not the result of some void in God's inner life. Creation was the result of the Father's overflowing love for the Son. It is God's nature to love. All of Creation are beneficiaries of that love.
JESUS KNEW IT BEFORE!
Before His final suffering began, Jesus spent some time with the Father. He knew what was ahead. All those passages in Isaiah and the Psalms that describe unimaginable suffering refer to Him. And He knew it! In John chapter 17, we see a glimpse of this heavenly relationship.
In verse 24, as Jesus is speaking to His Father, He says, "Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou has given me be with me where I am in order that they may behold my glory which Thou has given me." One of Jesus' last requests before going to the Cross was, "I want these guys to witness our relationship. I want them to be there with Me so that they can see, so that they can share in this. I want them to be where I am so they can behold My glory which Thou has given Me for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world." God the Father was deeply in love with God the Son long before anything existed.
In John 17:5, Jesus says, "I'm asking you Father to glorify me now. Glorify yourself together with me with the glory that I had with Thee before the world was." It is difficult for us to imagine this divine relationship. We have only earthly relationships to compare it too. We do not know what it was like before the world was created.
BEFORE THE SON BECAME MAN
What did the Son look like before He became a man? What did His glory look like? We used to live in Wyoming. We lived on the eastern half of the state and all the pretty stuff is on the western half of the state. To get to the western part of Wyoming we had to drive through Togwotee Pass. As we drove through this pass we got our first glimpse of western Wyoming.
I remember the first time we made that trip. As we drove through the pass we saw the Snake River and the Grand Tetons mountain range ahead of us. The sight was magnificent. It is hard to control yourself when you are driving and see that sight. "Glory!" It was such a glorious sight. Incredible! And that is just something that God made. That is not even God. The glory that Jesus Christ has far surpasses that.
MEN PEEKING AT HIS GLORY
God gave three men an opportunity to get a peek at that glory. In the book of Matthew we read that Jesus took three of His closest disciples, Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain. As Jesus was conversing with the Father He began to shine from the inside out. They were allowed for a fleeting moment to see through the curtain as God parted it just enough to give them a peek. He had to veil that glory to a certain extent while He was here because you and I could not handle it. We do not have the capacity to take it in.
Matthew 17:5 says, "That while Jesus was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them and behold, a voice out of the cloud saying, this is my beloved Son." Other references to this event talk about Jesus having on clothes that shone brightly. He was so bright they could hardly stand to even look at Him. That was a glimpse of His glory and God was putting Him on display at that point for his disciples to say, "This is my Son. What do you think? I think He is great. This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
If we were to retranslate that in another way we would say something like, "I cannot be happier. I could not possibly be more satisfied, more happy, more pleased than I am with My Son. What do you guys think of Him? Take a peek. I cannot show you all right now. You cannot handle it, but what do you think?"
Giving us a glimpse of His preincarnate glory gives us a hint of what He gave up to come to Earth. It gives us a glimpse of how far He descended from heaven's glory to the blood, sweat, and tears of the Cross. It makes us value the work of Christ even more.
WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS
In the book of Isaiah, God the Father refers to His special servant as the one in whom His soul delights. His soul delights! He is expressing the depths of His heart when He says, "I love this guy. I delight in Him. Nothing, nobody delights me more." God the Father is so enamored with God the Son that He is passionate about having others know Him as well. He is convinced that if we could really know Him the way He knows Him, we could not help but fall in love with Him.
In chapter one of Hebrews it says that God the Father has given Jesus a place above all of Creation. "To which of the angels did He ever say, sit at my right hand until I establish your enemies as a footstool." He did not and He will not because they do not deserve it. Only the Son deserves it. He says in the book of Philippians that He has given Jesus "a name which is above every other name and that one day every knee will bow, every tongue will confess, [that Jesus is] the worthy one."
THE FATHER CHERISHES HIS SON
John Piper says that when God looks at His Son, He enjoys and admires and cherishes and prizes and relishes what He sees. Do you prize Him and cherish Him and relish Him the way God the Father does? God the Father wants you to. He wants His Son to be honored and admired. Why? For two significant reasons. First, because the Son deserves it. And second, the Father wants us to become like the Son-Jesus Christ. Never forget, we tend to become like those we admire most. And the Father wants us to admire the Son!
Getting to know Jesus the way God the Father wants us to will have four important results. Look at Revelation 5. Notice what the angels sang as Jesus opened the end times scroll. "Worthy art Thou to take the book and break its seals for Thou was slain and didst purchase for God with thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and nation and people."
WORSHIP THE SON!
The response that the angels had toward the person and work of Jesus was worship. He is worthy of our worship. The mere mention of His name should bring that kind of a response from those who know Him. Jesus, the name above all names, the apple of the Father's eye. All the created beings in heaven were moved to worship at the mention of His name, at His presence. There is a related response. If you and I know Him, not only will we be moved to worship Him, but if we truly know Him, we are going to be motivated to serve Him. Worship implies service. We are going to be motivated to give of ourselves in whatever way God asks.
EVERYTHING IS COUNTED AS LOSS FOR HIS SAKE
Look with me at Philippians chapter 3. The apostle Paul had quite a career going for himself. He was well trained. He had the best education. He had "ins" with the people in power. He had everything going for him as far as the world was concerned. But what he did not have at that time was Jesus. And when he encountered Jesus, his response was that none of the other stuff matters. Look at the way Paul says it.
Philippians 3:7 says, "Whatever things were gain to me those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ." He had a lot to lose. He is not talking about giving up piddly things. He is not talking about just getting rid of garage sale items, stuff he did not want anyway. He was giving up the best of what he had. He was giving up everything that he had in terms of prestige, recognition, job security, and status. He was giving all that up. Paul summarizes by saying, "I count those things to be loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."
John 17 tells us of the second result of knowing Jesus. He starts out His prayer by saying, "This is eternal life that they may know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent."
KNOWING JESUS IS A PERSONAL WAY
This is eternal life. Not knowing about Jesus, but actually knowing Jesus in a personal way. John 4 tells us about a conversation Jesus had with a woman who was a little ragged around the edges. She had a rough life. She had gone through several marriages and had not found one that worked. And she was presently living with a man that was not her husband. She was a cynical woman who had seen the seamier parts of life. Probably had given up on an awful lot of things in life. And here was this man who had the audacity to talk with her. She was a Samaritan. And Jesus was a Jew. Jews and Samaritans had little to do with each other, little respect for each other.
Jesus says to this lady, "If you knew, if you only knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you give me a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water."
Jesus is essentially saying, "Lady, you do not have a clue who is talking to you. It is not that I need something from you, but you need something from me. You need to know me because I am the one who can give you living water so that you will never thirst again." Knowing Jesus is eternal life. Knowing Jesus brings life to the soul.
OTHER RESULTS OF KNOWING JESUS
I John 2:3 tells us the third result of knowing Jesus. "This is how we know we know. If we keep His commandments." I am not talking about obedience to some big call. I am not talking about jumping up out of the chairs and heading for Africa as a missionary. I am talking about the little things like saying you are sorry to your wife. I am talking about stuff like having the courage to talk to your next-door neighbor about Jesus. Let God examine you. Knowing Jesus means wanting to become like Him. Becoming like Him means obedience to His commands and direction for your life.
We have seen that knowing Jesus results in worshiping Him, spiritual life and vitality, and obedience.
A LOVE STORY
Lastly, knowing Jesus results in His joy! Believe it or not, Jesus is affected by our knowing Him. Turn to the book of the Song of Solomon, or also called the Song of Songs. It is a book that we do not study very often. The Song of Solomon is a love story. It is a very tender story. There is one way of looking at this book that focuses on the male-female relationship. Looked at in this way, it simply relates the story of Solomon and one of his wives.
Many see more in this book. I believe that this book speaks of another relationship - the relationship between Jesus, the groom, and the church, His bride. I challenge and encourage you to read this book from that perspective and every time you see the groom speaking, think in your mind that Jesus is talking to you, and when you see the bride speaking think of yourself replying to Jesus. "Wow, you are the fairest of ten thousand. Draw me after you. I want to run with you. You are the lover of my soul."
If we can look at it in that context, we can learn some amazing things.
In chapter 4, we have a statement from Jesus addressed to all lovers of Him. "You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride. You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes." Can you imagine that? Can you even begin to get your mind wrapped around what He's saying? You and me, sinful, fallen, with all of our disrespect and our disregard for the One who loves us, provoke Him to say, "You make my heart beat faster." Just a single loving glance moves Him! Can you imagine what would happen if we fixed our eyes on Him?
GOD IS ON A MISSION
God is on a mission. His mission is that everybody, everywhere would know this Son of His. God the Father has one overarching goal. He wants people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to know His Son. As non-Christians come to know Him they will inherit eternal life. As we come to know Him and see Him as He is, we become like Him. Get to know Him better. You will not be disappointed!
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