Monday, February 14, 2011
Greater Love has no one than this...
The second temptation recorded in Luke four that Satan presented before Christ was this:
"I will give You all this domain and its glory: for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship me, it shall be all Yours."
Satan, the father of lies, was actually telling the truth here. The domain of the earth and its glory was "handed" over to Satan in the garden of Eden. It's his right now. And Satan knew that Jesus' plan ultimately takes back the title deed to earth. This plan included two "comings" to earth - the first to provide salvation for His chosen children and the second to reclaim the earth for His glory.
Satan was offering the earth without the suffering. All Jesus had to do was bend the knee for one brief moment. Then the plan would be done and the earth would have returned to Christ.
If Jesus had taken this offer, He would have been given what His second coming will accomplish, but His children would still be lost. Without bearing the wrath of God on our behalf, we would still be destined for hell. So at the moment He bent His knee to Satan, the earth and all it's glory would be given to Him - including all people, however, all people would still be separated from God for eternity.
Now, we can smirk at this suggestion, knowing that when Jesus agrees to do something, He can't go back on His word - He's God. We can almost minimize the temptations because we focus on His deity. But when I think of myself, I wonder why He would choose to die. Why not just wipe out the earth and start with a new Adam?
The Bible tells us that God loved the world so much that He gave us His Son. It tells us that He made us alive together with Christ because of His great love with which He loved us. It also tells us that Christ loved us so much that He gave His life up for us.
John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
Jesus didn't take Satan up on His offer because He loved us. He didn't want a new people. He didn't want the easy way out. He wanted us - He loved us so much that He willingly laid His life down. No one took it from Him - Satan didn't require His life. He gave it because of His great love.
Harvest has a catch phrase - "You are loved." When you hear that, it can seem empty or trite sometimes because the people saying it are limited and sinful. But there is great truth in those three words. This Valentine's Day please know that if you know Jesus, if you have given your life to Him and He is Lord of your life, then you are truly, deeply, sacrificially and eternally loved.