What if you knew that someone loved you so deeply that they would die for you in the hopes of saving you- all the while knowing that you would do things to hurt them and possibly even reject them forever? Do you know that Someone exists that has done that for you and His name is Jesus? He died for you knowing that you would do things to hurt Him. You might say, well how could I hurt Him? I don’t even know Him!! To look further into the depths of His love for us, we can look at the life of Paul in the Bible, formerly known as Saul of Taursas. Saul was a very religious and well educated Jewish man. He was zealous for God, but not in a way that honored God. Saul had the authority to bind and destroy all who called on the name of Jesus as the Messiah. He ravaged the church and literally drug men and women from their homes to put them in prison. The Jews saw Jesus as a threat to their religion. There was a man in particular, named Stephen, who was full of grace and power. Stephen was a member of a group called “The Way.” The Way followers believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and they were filled with the power of His Spirit. They were persecuted by Jewish authorities like Saul. Eventually Stephen’s dedication and courage caused him to be stoned for his beliefs and Saul was present at his death, wholeheartedly cheering on the murderers.
Saul was on his way to Damascus, still breathing threats and murder, to persecute more Christ followers, when suddenly a light flashed from the sky and he fell to the ground. When he arose he was blind. He heard a voice that said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME?” This voice speaking from heaven was the voice of Jesus. Jesus identifies very closely with His people- so close that He Himself arrested Saul through His presence on Saul’s murderous way. So what would the Righteous, Just, Holy Son of God do to Saul? Most people would think that the flash of light from heaven would be a picture of justice– a lightening bolt to kill Saul, or at the very least, cripple him for life. But the Merciful, Gracious, Kind God had good plans for Saul. God’s ways are different from man’s ways. What God did next was pave a way for Saul to be healed. And not only healed, but forever changed in every way.
So now we can look at Saul’s story and how it brings light to our story about the depths of God’s love for us. Think about this: Saul was not doing anything to honor God when God brought His light into Saul’s situation. Jesus spoke truth to Saul and then healed him. God also changed his name from Saul to Paul to give him a new identity. In addition, God provided the opportunity for Paul to learn about Him and set him out on a new way that would radically change the world. Doesn’t that sound like love— and justice, and righteousness, and holiness, and mercy, and grace, and kindness? Oh the depths of His love! In the book of Romans, Paul knew what he was talking about when he said, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ came down to earth as a sinless sacrifice and died for us as sinners, while we were helpless– all the while knowing that we would hurt him and may not even choose to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. But that didn’t stop Jesus. His love is relentless. He has the power to open our eyes to be able to walk in His way and see His wonders and glory. As you go along your way, consider Jesus, and ask Him to let you see more of His love than you could ever imagine. He will show you the way.