How do we know people love us? Sometimes we know because they tell us. However, most often we know that people love us because of what they do. These actions are pictures of love.
One of the great surprises we experience in life is the love of others. We are surprised that others value us. We are surprised at their commitment. The same is true of God. We are surprised to the point of disbelief at the love of God. As we approach the crucifixion and Resurrection Sundays, I thought that we could add to that expression of love what God shows us in Christ’s coming as a baby. Together, all of these acts tell us of the glorious ways that He has shown us His love in Jesus:
1. In Jesus God has given us His protection. All through the Scriptures we see that God watches over those who are His. When we think of God’s interaction with Joseph and Mary, we see God’s protection. God gave Mary a good man as husband. God then encourages that man to stick by Mary. God protected Mary. God protects us.
2. In Jesus God has given us salvation. Joseph is told to give the Child a name. The name is unique. It is ‘Jehovah saves’. That is what ‘Jesus’ means. His name means that Jehovah saves. This isn’t a name that was prophesied by Isaiah. This is a very personal name. It is Jesus’ mission. It is God’s passion.
3. Jesus has another name. This is the one that was prophesied. The name is Immanuel. It means, “God with us.” God does not abandon His people. God stays with them.
4. The fourth picture of God’s love is what Joseph does. He obeys. He does what God told him to do. Joseph is God’s living expression of the love of God. It is Joseph who protects Mary. It is Joseph who helps Mary to Bethlehem. It is Joseph who takes her to Egypt to escape Herod. It is Joseph who provides for Mary. Isn’t that amazing? Of all the ways that God shows us His love, God desires to use us to show it most.
5. And then we fast forward to our Lord’s death. The Bible declares that He died for us. He died in our place. He died because God loves us so much. That Baby, who was born in a manger, was born for this purpose – to die for us.
Jesus said, “All men shall know you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13) We too are a picture of God’s love. When we do what God has instructed, when we live in love of others, and when we reach out in kindness and the gospel we are showing others that God’s love is real. Let’s do it! Someone did it for us. Someone else showed us God’s love. Let’s share it with each other!
Something to think about,