31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake, we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Jesus) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant; being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
Who could even make up a story with a God like the one described in the scripture passages for this week? It’s easy to make up a god of power, revenge, judgment, and rules – one who is big and scary and demands things of people. But a God who creates a world full of creatures that He intentionally makes to be like Him so that He can relate to them, love them, and care for them all while giving them the freedom to enjoy the world He creates? A God who when the creatures rebel against every good boundary, idea and purpose he made them for and selfishly reject His good intentions, willingly sends His one and only beloved son to convince them of His love? A God who is willing to humble Himself, serve the rebellious creatures, and be tortured and die violently for them so they could be saved? A God who is not only willing to die for “good” people but for those who are still his enemies and actively sinning against and betraying Him? No one makes up stories like that. No other hero in any story in all of history has been that noble and pure and good, using not power and vengeance to make things right, but instead sacrifices Himself.
Some people struggle to believe in Jesus because they can’t understand this kind of love. Others think it just sounds too good to be true. Other’s don’t see themselves as needing it; they think they are somehow OK without it. But if we take even a moment to honestly consider the thoughts, behaviors and wrong motives any of us have had, even since the time we got up this morning, we see the evil and anger and pride within us and know that we need a savior. We know we need a God who will forgive us and who is loving enough to help us or we are lost. God in Jesus shows us that kind of God, who loves enough not to overlook our sin and brokenness, pretending it doesn’t matter, but who instead takes the punishment for us and dies in our place so nothing can ever again stand between us. And when He is done, He does not hold his nobility over our heads but instead holds out his arms to welcome us home. Hallelujah.
O, The Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Your glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loves, ever loves, changes never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedes, watches over them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heav’n of heav’ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!
Jesus, how can I ever comprehend love like yours? I have difficulty giving up my time, comfort and money, even for the sake of those I care about. You gave up your throne in heaven, your right to rule and reign and even your very life, to suffer and die for those who either hated you or didn’t care; including me. I can never repay you. I can never be good enough. I can only be grateful, and seek to love and follow you in return; telling others of your amazing love. Thank you, Lord. Amen.
- Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
- Read the words of the hymn out loud, reflecting and using it as a prayer as you consider its meaning and message.
- Respond to the following questions by posting your answers in the discussion:
- When you think about the story of God sending His only Son to be punished and die to rescue sinners, what is your reaction? What do you think about a God and a love like this?
- Describe a time when you experienced the love of God or had a greater understanding of the depth and greatness of God’s love and what He is willing to do to show his care. How did it affect you?
- Explain what the love of Jesus currently means to you and how you think you can make it more of a reality in your life?