Written by Candice Craig
John 3:16….One of the most memorized, quoted passages in all of scripture. It’s everywhere—even on cardboard signs at ball games! For most people, it’s an easy way to share the message of the Gospel: “For God so loved the world…” I don’t know about you, but when I think of how God loved the world through His Son, I skip right past the nativity, all the way past his early years and ministry, right to the cross. That’s how He ultimately loved us, right? That’s what Jesus was born for, right? To die for our sins?
Well, yes, but there is so much more that He was sent for. When He was born, Simeon said, “Sovereign Lord,…you may now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” (Luke 2:29-30). He hadn’t seen Jesus die on the cross; he was holding Him as an infant. But, you see, Jesus’ entire life (even in the womb) was God’s love letter to the world. The example He gave us to follow, the words that poured from His lips, the way He loved the poor, the broken, sinners—all of it was how God loved the world. We look at the gospels and we see love on every page, in every red letter. We see love when we stop to consider how many of Jesus’ experiences here on earth were given to him so that he might identify with the human condition. Emmanuel, God with us! Did you catch that? How much more can someone love you than to get down on your level and experience your pain with you? And that is exactly what Jesus did. He could have shown up as an adult, presented Himself as a sacrifice, and gotten it over with. But He was born! He lived a full life! He dwelt among us (John 1:14)! God’s love in sending His Son began at the nativity, not on the cross. It culminated on the cross, but don’t skip over all the rest! You’ll miss so much if you do!
How do you need to experience God’s love through Jesus this advent season? Are there experiences you don’t think He can identify with? Loss, loneliness, suffering, shame, betrayal, humility, He’s felt them all, and then some! Ask Him to reveal a part of Jesus’ story to you in a fresh way this Advent. Open His word and look for love. It’s on every page!
Suggested reading: John 17:6-26; Luke 1:46-56, 67-79; Luke 22:39-46