Holy Week- the week and its events that lead up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. As we began our Easter tree readings with the kids last night I began to think of what the catapult is for such a world changing week is... is it power? a spiritual agenda? a way to get people to live rightly? Absolutely not. This week can be made into almost anything- the magnitude of this week and this coming weekend is sometimes reduced to a mere "Jesus died for my sins and rose again." Or it might get lumped into spring celebrations with Easter bunnies and Easter baskets, and a whole lot of chocolate. Or, it can even get discussed in a works oriented framework where we are told things like, "Look what Jesus did for you, so what should you do for him?"
But you see... it doesn't work like that. It's none of those things. It was a completely radical, universe altering weekend and it's catapult is love. Simply put, the driving force behind this entire rescue plan is Love. There are some Christians who will get caught up in the words and the arguing and say the catapult is God's glory and His glory alone. I see what they mean. But underlying everything is a kind of love this world is desperate for. No one willingly walks the road to the most gruesome death that existed, having no fault of his own, and gives his own life without love. So as I was thinking about this week, and how my children are 4 and 6 and able to grasp even more truths about Jesus, what do I want them to grasp this year, what do I want them to walk away with a greater understanding? It's love. Because love...it changes EVERYTHING. Because it was love that enabled Jesus to obey. His love intersected God's justice and mercy at the cross. It's what made this entire rescue plan work.
The love of Jesus. We've heard about it our whole lives. We've sang about it as children we've heard it thrown around in cliche after Christian cliche. But how do we understand it anew, for what it really is, for what it really does? That's where we need our hearts to be. The "love of Jesus" can become so commonplace in our language that we forget its magnitude, its power. It is a love that is so great, and so deep that our minds cannot even fathom it.
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die...I want that love to be the theme of my song, the theme of our family, the theme of my children’ song. Why? Why start there and not with "the law"- simply hammering a list of morality themes, Christian characteristics, and big lists of do's and don't's, and hammering again and again "obedience, obedience, obedience?" Why? Because in and of themselves, those things change nothing, and they certainly aren't the place to even begin. They don't reach the heart. They don't truly transform. It's the LOVE of Jesus- in its incomprehensible, but yet deeply simple way, that is the catapult for everything. It's where everything begins...
When you know someone loves you, when you know they are FOR you, you want to love them in return, you want to be like them. This is the message of Jesus' love that I want my children to understand. I don’t want them to see God and the Bible as merely a way to live life, but as a person, the God, to follow and to love. It starts with Jesus' love, not the law.
God, I need grace, wisdom, and help to show my children this radical love You have for them...it's the love that will enable them to see that they are fall sinners, broken, rebellious and wanting their own way. Just as I am. Your love leads them to the recognition that they need your loving rescue. That more than anything in this life, they needed this weekend.
It's Your incredible, amazing love that draws them in, pulls them close… that screams that You welcome them. That not only do you welcome them as they are, but that your love begins to transform them. That they will choose obedience and a life of servanthood to Jesus because your love is transforming them. It all starts with Love. Help me to show them Lord, that receiving the love of Jesus means they will become more like Jesus. That they can’t receive the love of Jesus and not start loving what Jesus loves. That's how we live the Christian life. Help them to see, know, and understand that You love them so much that You don’t just tolerate us in our broken, rebellious state, but that you transform us. Help me to understand more fully, and help my children to understand more fully, that we want to become like those we love the most, and if Jesus has loved us the most and we love him the most, we want to become like him.
So we start there. With the love of Jesus. The incredible, undeniable love of Jesus. Because THAT is what transforms hearts. Not law. Not rules. Not morality. Not more obedience. What changes sinners is love...we become like that which we love the most.