At the bottom of everything, after all the stories are told, the messages preached, the theology sifted, the music stilled, the memories faded… at the very foundation of the Easter story, we find love.
Love is why.
Love drove creation, love fired the heart of choice, love submitted to the cross, love broke free from the grave, love gave all of itself away, and somehow was found even stronger than the death that we believed would swallow everything.
Love triumphed over all.
Because love was more than why. Love was also who.
We weren’t won by a concept. We weren’t freed by an idea. We weren’t given hope by a plan.
We were saved by a Saviour. By a someone.
And that someone is Jesus.
Love is why He came. Love is why He died. Love is why He defeated death and broke the chains of sin and shame. Love is why He reaches out to us still, longing to restore us to who we are meant to be: beloved, unashamed, freed… family.
And Jesus did it all because love is who He is.
In the 4th chapter of John’s first letter, verses 7-10, he says:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (NIV)
God IS love. And Jesus is the image and demonstration of that love, not just to cover our sins, but to enable us to live through Him.
To live through Love… that’s how we are meant to live.
It’s who we were always born to be.
It’s all too easy to think that sin is our biggest problem, that our rejection of God stems from our sin and that if we could just sort sin, we’d be fine.
But there is a deeper layer.
In John’s gospel, he writes:
…God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (NIV)
In the Greek language there are three commonly used verbs for love: ‘agape’, ‘phileo’, & ‘eros’.
Phileo is the sort of love we have for friends and others. Eros is the love that is shared in a romantic relationship, and Agape is most powerful form of love possible…
Agape is love that will sacrifice anything or suffer all things for, and embrace completely and overwhelmingly all things of, the object of that love. It’s generally only used to describe God’s love for us, the highest form of love.
Of course, in the verse above, the Greek verb, agape, is used to describe the love God had for us in sending Jesus. But just three verses later, in John 3:19, we find out humanity’s response to such love:
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (NIV)
God loved us. We loved darkness.
Incredibly, the Greek verb used here to describe the love humanity had for darkness, is also agape.
We were created to love. We were given choice. We used that choice to love the darkness self sacrificially at any cost.
Fundamentally, we don’t have a sin problem. We have a love problem.
Our sin is a symptom of our misplaced love.
In that first garden, we were created to love and we’re still wired to love… so we will love. Even if we love the wrong thing. We will love until we sacrifice everything. We will love at any cost.
We will love, even if it destroys us.
Sin is the symptom of us loving the darkness instead of God. And that symptom of sin has brought us all such pain and horror throughout humanity’s story.
We needed to solve our love problem. We failed horribly with our attempts. But our loving Father chose love above all and sent Jesus to show us how to love again. He did it by an act of such extraordinary sacrifice, filled with such agape love, that our sin symptom can be forever transformed by His love restoration.
The miracle of Easter is that even in the sorrow of that first Garden, God was choosing to love us still, and to put into place a love story of salvation at great cost.
He didn’t just send Jesus to save us from our sins. He sent Jesus so we could be restored by love to love again.
From the bottom of it all to the moment we join the voices crying ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ it’s always been about love. So today we raise our hearts and our eyes from our sin, to His love… to love that wouldn’t leave us, to love that would restore us, to love that will carry us to hope.