A lesson in the greatest love

When you come to know, as the disciples did, the real Jesus and the real story, it makes all the difference in the world.

This demonstration of love was so powerful. Do we grasp it? "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16-17).

Those who have not experienced love from those who should have given it, namely parents or other family members, often have a difficult time loving others. Without the example of love from others, we would not know love. Love is something that cannot be explained to us; we simply have to experience it firsthand. We don't know how to love until it is shown to us first.

Without experiencing the goodness of others, we have no compelling reason to do what is right. Without experiencing the love of God expressed in the death of Christ, we would have no compelling reason to love others. Without coming to the realization that God died for each of us personally and individually, we could not be convicted of our personal sins to the point we would never want to sin again.

God the Father and Jesus Christ knew just how to go about accomplishing Their plan to bring children into Their divine family —children who would always want to remain in this sacred and loving family relationship. For Jesus—who was the Creator of everything and who had lived for all eternity—to live as a mortal and among mortals and then die for them so that they might have eternal life also, can be nothing less than godlike.

The same is true for the Father, who gave up His eternal companion, closer to Him than any human relationship can approach, and allowed Jesus to go through the suffering He did for the sake of all humanity. For both, the sacrifice is unimaginable.

It is unheard of in human experience. Human goodness does not come close. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:7-8: "Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us" (NRSV).

Paul concludes that Christ is "the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24) and that the idea of "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2) is "the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages" (verse 7). God's plan provides a way for our sins to be foigiven, but is also designed so we would not choose the way of sin ever again.

God knew how to solve the problem of sin and predetermined His purpose before the first man ever drew breath.

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