It’s Valentine’s Day — a celebration of love, and capitalism, and Saint Valentine, and the Roman god Cupid. On Valentine’s Day people celebrate their love for their significant others and my parents send me candy. (Is that a #foreveralone or a #satisfiedinChrist or a #myparentsloveme?). Anyway, this Valentine’s Day I figured I would share a love story. You know the one: the greatest love story ever told.
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Who would you die for?
The Apostle Paul — telling of Jesus dying for mankind — positions the narrative as a comparative piece. Paul makes a claim: people only die for those that they feel deserve it, and even then only sometimes. If you look at stories of a sacrificial death in the news they’re the stories of a soldier dying for his comrades, a football player dying for his classmates, a mother dying for her child, etc. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a story where a Black Panther jumped in front of a bullet aimed at a Ku Klux Klan member (or vice versa). We don’t die for our enemies…it just doesn’t make any practical sense, and we definitely don’t make plans to die for people who hate us.
But Jesus did.
You see, he didn’t just die for mankind on a whim. He foreknew how he would die and when he would die, and he still made the decision to do so. A premeditated death if you will. Jesus died — for his enemies — knowing exactly what it would mean for him.
There’s a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. that I feel embodies the sentiment of Romans 5:6-8. It’s from his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” sermon. In his explication of the narrative of the Good Samaritan, Dr. King says the following;
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’
Jesus knew what would happen to us if he refused to die. He knew, as we know, that the wages of sin is death — the natural state of mankind, and he made a decision about us knowing that. Jesus died in humbleness and in love.
The love story of Christ is the Gospel, and it’s summed up in Jesus seeing our wretched state and saying, “If I do not save them, what will happen to them?” So he shed his godliness and died on a cross. Having lived a sinless life he could not be contained by death (because death is the penalty of sin). Therefore, he resurrected. It’s why eternal life comes through Jesus — the more perfect intercessor.
Whether you have a Valentine or not today remember Jesus. He chose you, he loves you, and he’s never bored in his relationship with you.