REVELATION OF GOD’S LOVE
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:8-10
Last week, we started learning about the revelation of God’s love. We saw that God’s love is eternal. His love for us was designed, executed and applied through the Redemption Covenant made by the Trinity.
Today, let’s look at another important aspect of this great love of God towards us.
God’s love does not forsake!
That statement could give rise to an interesting question. If God really cared then why did Jesus have to hang on the Cross and agonizingly ask His Father, ‘My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me?’ How can we make sense of a God who allowed His Only Son to die in such a cruel manner?
Let us unpack this heavily loaded question bit by bit.
Every day we come across forsaken lives. Parents abandoning their responsibility, husbands leaving their wives destitute, children shunning their old parents – the world is full of pitiful stories of being forsaken. The abandoned victims often suffer without money, clothing and shelter, along with heart wrenching pain. Forsaking is becoming a regular feature of human lives because of the sin of selfishness. This sin consumes and overpowers them and forces them to behave irrationally.
FIGHT IT OUT
Paul was one of the greatest New Testament preachers. He traveled and trained people all over. So many people came to know Jesus as the Living God through Paul’s ministry. At the fag end of his life, Paul writes in 2nd Timothy that ‘I have fought the good fight, I have run the race, and a crown is laid up for me’. Paul uses two analogies to describe his life – Fighting and Racing.
There were a lot of hindrances and problems but in order to accomplish what God had called Him to do, He needed to stay put in the battlefield. It wasn’t easy and he was often tempted to let go but he kept fighting. If we want to have a fruitful and productive life, then we need to hang on and keep fighting. Paul called it the good fight because he won.
Similarly, Paul refers to his life also as a race. He doesn’t term it a hundred meter dash. It’s a long marathon that can sometimes extend up to several years. We may feel like buckling under the pressure of running. There’s too much pain and sweat. But a good runner knows that the race will end. We can make it to the finishing line and will get much energy to finish the race successfully.
After making the above statement, Paul writes about the people who left him. Such a great leader and preacher forsaken and left alone! This world is selfish and mean. True, pure and unadulterated love is impossible to come by. But Paul hastens to add immediately that the Lord was with him so that he could complete his calling. He was not alone. The Only One who really mattered remained with him.
THE BETRAYAL OF JESUS
Let’s look at another person who was betrayed and abandoned. When the hour of Jesus’ arrest and death drew close, He was in agony. Accompanied by His sleepy bunch of disciples, Jesus arrived at Gethsemane. He asked them to stay awake and pray with him. Thrice he returned from His prayer and found the sleepyheads happily snoring away!
Soon after that, Judas Iscariot the traitor came with armed soldiers to capture Jesus. Sure enough, his disciples flung into action. They ran for their lives!
Jesus’ close associates who literally hung out with him day in and out fled with their tails tucked behind them.
To make matters worse, a little while later, Peter (Jesus’ loudest and most impulsive follower) denied even knowing Jesus. Meanwhile, Pontius Pilate, the judge found Jesus innocent but succumbed to public pressure and handed Him over to be crucified!
Jesus was forsaken by His friends and by His government.
…to be continued…