Whenever I am given the opportunity to visit with my Nana (now 92 years old), we always end our visit with the following exchange:
Me: “I love you.”
Nana: “I love you more.”
Me: “I know you do, and I can’t compete with that.”
There is something about those words that always resonates with me. No matter what I do or what I say, there is nothing that can make my Nana love me any less. Much like my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He has said from the beginning of time, “There is nothing that you can do Cameron, that will separate you from My love. I gave up My only Son for you. It was My purpose, and His, that He die on a cross for you. Why? Because I love you most!”
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” ~ John 3:16-18 (The Message)
There is an allegory that has been written and rewritten time and time again about how much God loves us through the sacrifice of his Son. It’s the story of a bridgekeeper and his son. One day, the bridgekeeper brought his son to work with him to show his son what he does for a living. The son loved trains and the moment he saw the power that his dad had by raising and lowering the massive bridge, he loved his dad even more. He thought his dad was the greatest man in the world! On this day, after he had raised the bridge for the last scheduled ship to pass by, he and his son took a lunch break. They walked out on to a catwalk that overlooked the river. As they ate lunch, dad continued to tell his son stories of the trains that passed above the river, the people who traveled by, and the gliding ships that sailed along the river below. As he was in the middle of one of his stories, the shriek of a train whistle blew in the distance. He had lost track of time and realized that the next scheduled train was due to pass over the bridge any minute. He told his son to stay put while he raced back to the control room to lower the bridge in time for the oncoming train. As he had been trained to do, he glanced to his right and to his left, looking for oncoming river traffic. Nothing was hindering him from lowering the bridge, until he saw something that made his heart stop. His pride and joy, his son, had apparently tried to follow his dad back to the control room and had fallen into the gear box of the bridge. With the train fast approaching, he is at a loss of what to do. If he were to leave the control room, race to his son’s aid and pull him out of the gear box, there would not be enough time to get back to pull the lever that lowered the bridge for the train to pass safely across. If he were to leave his post, the train and all it’s roughly 150 passengers would plunge in to the river. If he stays and does his job, his son will surely die. With a tear-stained face, he makes the decision to sacrifice his only son to save the lives of those strangers. He pulls the lever and lowers the bridge just in time to allow the train to safely pass by. As he looks out to see the train, he notices all of the people on the train. A woman reading a book as her husband sits across from her reading the daily newspaper. The conductor moving about the train checking on his passengers. A little boy, looking much like his own, eating ice cream. What all those people didn’t understand in that moment was that this father just sacrificed his only son so that they could live. They didn’t even recognize this man. They didn’t even look his way. No one seemed to care that his son’s body had been bruised, beaten, and ultimately crushed so that they could go on with their lives as they see fit. As time passed on, this dad would eventually come to the realization that through his son’s death, many lives were saved, and that brought him joy.
What an amazing visual of the sacrifice that God made for us. The major difference is that He did not have to make a last-minute decision to kill His only Son so that everyone else might live. He knew from the beginning of time, that this would happen. He knew before the world was formed that His only begotten Son would take the world’s sins on His shoulders on that Friday afternoon. His Son would be bruised, beaten, and ultimately crushed to save the lives of everyone else. What breaks His heart is when so many choose to not even recognize what Jesus did for them. This is the event that all of history is based upon. It’s the event in which time splits between BC and AD. Oswald Chambers wrote, “The cross is the central event in time and eternity, and the answer to all the problems of both.” Yet so many will pass by without even glancing in the direction of the cross. Why? Because they’re afraid their sins will be made clear. They will see themselves for who they really are. They will be put on display. Well, you don’t have to worry about that because someone took care of that for you. Someone else was put on display so that you wouldn’t have to. Someone else took your sin, so that you don’t have to be ashamed of who you are. Jesus died for you! Embrace the cross for what it is…the blood-shed bridge that allows you to cross over eternal death to everlasting life and salvation.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” ~ Psalm 23 (NKJV)