"Oh That We May KNOW the LOVE of Christ!"
When you think of the great Story of the Gospel it reminds me of the baseline for every great blockbuster movie I have seen. In the beginning of the movie everything is perfect. You get a glimpse of how life is supposed to be. Then, something tragic and devastating takes place. It seems as if all hope is lost and evil is winning. It is at that time that a Hero rises up, and with No regard to themselves, they save the day! The movie then ends with all things being restored to the way they were meant to be! If we think about great movies of redemption we will realize that each one follows the pattern I’ve just described! This is because every great story that has ever been told is a reflection of the story of the REDEMPTION of Humanity! Recently, I researched what Americans would say are the Greatest movies about Redemption that have ever been made. I had my answer immediately, when a list of America’s top 25 redemptive movies popped up on my screen. The number one movie on this list was “The Shawshank Redemption.” The list also included movies like, “The Return of the Jedi,” “The pursuit of Happiness,” and even, “Groundhog Day!” As I continued reading further down my eyes locked onto one particular title. Coming in at number 19 on the list was “The Passion of the Christ!” I stared in shock, not because it was on the list, but because it was number 19! I couldn’t believe that the story of the Redemptive work of Jesus Christ was thought to be less dynamic than watching Bill Murray repeat the same day over and over! This was just crazy to me! Jesus LITERALLY wrote the book on redemption, He is the AUTHOR of Redemption and yet the moment that changed humanity forever rates lower than “Return of the Jedi,” and “Groundhog Day!” What I realized at that moment was that our society does not comprehend what Jesus truly did for us or the depth of what it means for us! We have failed to understand just how powerfully He loves us!
Paul prays in Ephesians 3:17-19 that we would “KNOW the Love of Christ!” He prays that we would KNOW the length, width, depth, and height of Christ’s Love. What I find beautiful about His prayer is that he DOES NOT pray that we would know ABOUT Christ’s love, but that we would KNOW His love! There’s a big difference! Paul prays that we would have an intimate, experiential knowledge of Christ’s Love! We have to understand something quite profound. It doesn’t matter how unlovable you may think you are! It doesn’t matter how hurt, beat up, broken down, angry, unforgiving, hesitant, desperate, longing, or exhausted you are! The King of the Universe, the Savior of the world, the Prince of peace, the Author of Love is chasing after you! He is calling you, beckoning you, pursuing you and longing for relationship with YOU! Here is what blows my mind…the King of Glory has one desire…and that ONE desire is YOU!! Before you could ever love Him, He first loved you! Before you were ever acceptable, He was chasing after you! Before you even knew how to ask for forgiveness, He had already taken the punishment for YOUR sins! His Love Never gives up, and He is Longing for Intimate Relationship with YOU!
I want to share a story I read years ago that has stuck with me and impacted my family deeply. There was a little boy who wanted desperately to have a wooden boat to float in the river. His family did not have much money so he set to work all summer to build himself a boat. He gathered ALL the wood needed and began to build this boat by hand. He worked hard on every measurement and every cut of wood. He painstakingly took great care in how he fashioned it together. He tenderly made the sails and painted his boat with great precision. He had poured his whole self into his boat and he loved it very much. Finally, the time came for him to take the boat to the river to see if it could sail! The boy was delighted as he watched his boat accomplish what he had designed it to do! At this time, however, a strong wind began to blow in. The current got stronger and eventually the little string attached to the boat snapped and the boat was carried along with the current and away from its maker. The boy chased after his boat until he couldn’t see it anymore and with Great devastation he realized that it was lost to him! A couple of days later he was walking through town and as he passed a small shop, he looked in the window and saw a boat that looked very much like his. He ran inside and began to inspect that boat. After examining it for a few moments he realized that it WAS, in fact, HIS boat! He ran to the store owner and said, “Sir, that is my boat. I made it myself, but it was lost from me.” He recounted the entire story to the owner, but the owner told him that someone else had brought the boat in and they wanted to sell it. The owner told the boy that if he wanted the boat he would have to buy it! The boy went out from there determined, and over the next few weeks he worked morning and night until he had enough money. He went back to that store, marched straight up to that owner, and said, “I want to buy MY boat back!” After receiving HIS boat, the boy turned to it and said, “NOW, you are DOUBLY MINE! First I created you and now I have PURCHASED YOU!” “You are DOUBLY MINE!”
What a powerful phrase! This is a story that so beautifully depicts what Christ has done for us! He created us, and was delighted as we fulfilled what He had designed us to do. We were soon swept away by the current of sin, however, and captured by another owner. He then came for us and purchased us back with His own blood. It was our Creator who Purchased us from the hold of Satan, and sin, and for all who will receive His redemption; He grabs a hold of us in His Great love, and says, “NOW you are DOUBLY MINE! First I made you and then I purchased you!” That is how much Christ LOVES us!!! He chose us, and then He chose us AGAIN! He is serious when He says He wants relationship with us! He was willing to purchase us back with His own blood!
You know, not too long ago I was in Costco, getting ready to check out and I happened to see an elderly man slowly shuffling up to the counter. Now, I have to tell you that I Love the elderly very much, and it is a joy for me to get to learn from them and hear their stories. This particular man was carrying a huge bouquet of flowers in one hand and a beautiful purse in the other. He was having difficulty lifting them onto the counter, so I rushed over and asked if I could help. While I was helping, I asked him, “Sir, are you getting these things for your wife?” He said, “Yes!” and he told me that it was their 69th wedding anniversary! I just about exploded with excitement because I just LOVE “Love!” I asked him what he felt was the most important advice he could give me about marriage. He amazed me because he answered without missing a beat. He said, “Renew Your Vows Often! CHOOSE him AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN!” I was amazed at what he said and slowly the depth of it sank into my soul. This is the Redemptive love of Christ. This is how He loves us! He has chosen us again and again and the question is will we choose Him daily! Will we choose everyday to lay down our life for Him, to forgive our enemies like He has forgiven us, to put Him first in all we do, to live for His Glory and not our own? Will we choose relationship with Him over the pleasures of this life? Will we choose to love Him by loving others with this same love? Christ’s Love is a re-choosing Love! It is a love that says, “No matter what, I choose you today, and tomorrow I will choose you again!” This is the power of Redemption and this is how we live a Redeemed Life! Choosing to love again and again with a love that has loved us again and again! “Oh that we may KNOW the LOVE of Christ!”