… that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world … John 3:15-19a
I was sitting in a Jeep in the middle of the veld in the dark. We were on a night game drive. The animals had decided the humans were not worth waiting around for and so had hidden themselves for the night. By chance, I tipped my head back and had a look at what I thought was a black night’s sky. I was completely wrong. The sky was alive with host of stars. Swirling across the night’s sky, they shone boldly where no light pollution could dim their magnificence. I don’t think I had ever seen that many stars all at once. And to think, God knows them all by name.
He created this tiny blue marble we live on. The almighty Maker of the universe had the creativity and sensitive touch to create a world fashioned perfectly for the people He put on it. The correct conditions for life exist here. Food and water sources, the correct temperature, the variety of seasons, all provide for the needs of those put on the earth.
And then He choose to come here. God had and has always sought relationship and community. He has always lived with perfect community in Himself – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He also sought community with those He had made. He chose to walk in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. He especially went looking for them after they had sinned. He drew near. They had chosen to hide, but the God of the universe, the One who had given them the choice, drew near. He is not a God who runs away, He is not distant. He pursues.
It baffles my mind. The One who made it all by the command of His words chose to leave the glory and majesty of heaven and come here. He knew that the demands of the Law were so lofty that any attempts to fulfill them would result in abject disappointment and failure. He knew that the gulf separating God and man would be a span that humans would never be able to cross. And He reduced Himself – the Almighty King of heaven and earth – reduced Himself. The One who had all power at His disposal. The One who had breathed into the nostrils of man the breath of life. The One who had created this tiny little planet in the middle of the galaxy. He came down. He became cells that multiplied. He came as a baby. Hungry, helpless, needy, dependent, seemingly ordinary.
He came in love. He came with a rescue agenda. It wasn’t the one the people expected. The people wanted political hope that would remove the tyranny of Rome. He came with the humbleness of a servant. The Pharisees and Sadducees were not looking for competition. He taught with authority and captivated the attention of the people wherever He went. The people were willing, for a while, to set Him on a throne of power. He came knowing that His life would be short and it would end with the humiliation of a cross. He came because this was the only way to pay the penalty for sin. Innocent blood had to be shed to atone for wrong. He knew it would be His blood. His body broken. The One who had always known community with the Father separated from Him. He came down.
He came bringing a gift. The sacrifice of His life affords me life eternal. There is no number of deeds that can earn eternal life. No possible way for me to deserve this gift. Rather, a choice is presented to each person. Believe who Jesus says He is and receive His gift of life. Or choose to ignore Him, disregard Him and miss out on the gift of life He offers. The offer of life eternal is given to everyone. But the choice is left to each individual.
I am learning about Jesus’ pursuit of love. His love is wide and deep. His love reaches into deep and dark places. His love wipes away tears and offers hope. His love encompasses deep, lasting wounds. His love brought Him to this tiny blue marble because He craves a relationship with those He made.
This Advent season, I choose to marvel. I marvel at His sacrifice. I marvel in His love. I choose to worship the One who made it all.