I sing “Jesus Loves Me” with Norah everyday and multiple times a day at that. Whenever I stop singing she chimes in, “Mommy, yeeeessss Jesus!!!” wanting me to sing it again and again until she is satisfied.
As I was holding her before nap time the other day, these words got me to thinking. Do I really believe that Jesus loves me? Do I walk in that truth? How do I know the love of God?
And those questions are the whole reason for this specific look into the depth of God’s love for his people and his glory.
It was the will of The Lord to crush him.
Smitten by God.
His sacrifice was a pleasing aroma to God.
The bible says these things with regards to the death of Christ, and as the celebration of Christ’s resurrection approaches, I want to savor the truth that yes, Jesus does love me! and the bible tells me so through his death and the foreknowledge of God in that.
As mentioned in several prior posts, looking to the gospel of Christ in the ordinary things of life has been this year’s challenge and theme for me thus far. I want the gospel to be always fresh on my mind whether I’m washing dishes or cooking dinner. While contemplating the love of God, I was reminded of a chapter in Piper’s The Pleasures of God titled “The Pleasure of God in Bruising the Son.” That takes me to Isaiah 53. [Emphasis added]
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Wow. When I stop and think about the love present within the Trinity that has been perfect and complete for all eternity, my soul bows in awe that according to God’s divine purpose, that second Person of the Trinity would come in human flesh, completely God and completely man, to be bruised for our transgressions. It makes me consider what God is about in all of this.
God is about God. For the sake of His Name he acts. God also has a great love for his people. Both his reputation among the nations and his people chosen throughout the nations please him. Considering this, there appears to be a great conflict present in the fact that the Father sent his Son and would bruise the Son for the impenitent.
Again, God loves his name and his people.
We see in the death of Christ a beautiful resolution of the two.
The Son was bruised by the Father.
Something had to be done to reconcile the Father’s love for his glory and his love for sinners. Through Isaiah 53, we see that it is The Lord’s work that brings about all of this. Sin does matter and God cannot act like it doesn’t.
Sin is deserving of death. We see this clearly stated in the Old Testament as sacrifices were mandated to make atonement for the sins of men.
Verse 5 shows that it was because of man’s sin that Jesus was bruised. Jesus was without sin.
But how could the Father delight in bruising His Son? His pleasure was not summed up in the actual suffering and death of Jesus, but rather the aftermath. Sinners united with their Creator. Righteousness imputed. Christ glorified. God’s people justified. It is all about what Jesus accomplished on the cross that pleased God.
It is also evident that Jesus is about God’s glory, not just the Father. He willingly submits to the will of the Father and even goes as far to say in John 10:15,17, “I lay down my life for the sheep…For this reason the father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it up again.”
Charles Spurgeon comments on this topic that men outside of the faith will not see such great a secret in the life of Christ. It will appear from the surface that Christ was put to death due to the “enmity of the Jews” or the “fickle character of the Roman governor,” but he goes on to say that those that have enlightened eyes will find the secret. “He sees the solemn decree of God fulfilled by men, who were the ignorant, but guilty instruments of its accomplishment.”
Peter affirms that last statement in Acts 2:23: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”
Christ was indeed sent into the world by God with a purpose. The means by which God chose to bring the death of Jesus about may appear to be the works of man solely, yet to believe such a notion would diminish the work of God completely.
We see the affection God has for his children in sending Jesus Christ to die. It is love indeed!
So going back to my initial questions:
Do I believe that Jesus loves me? I will draw from the wells of his salvation forever! Yes! Yes! Yes! I am loved by Christ through the good workings of God to bring such a relationship about.
Do I walk in that truth? Not always. Such a reality ebbs and flows in my heart. On some days, I feel the clouds of life. The light of the Son can’t seem to break through. Yet on other days, I’m beaming in the truth that I have been bought by his blood, and what precious blood that shall never run cold for me! Thankfully through the working of the Spirit in changing me from one degree of glory to the next more and more into the image of the Son, I have a gospel being preached to me by many people and that gospel is always sufficient.
How do I know the love of God? That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The righteous for the unrighteous. That’s how I know the love of God. When looking deeper into what all is entailed in such a working, my soul is moved by the love of God, wrapped tightly around Christ.