“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” - John 3:16.
“—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” – Ephesians 3:17b-19
My son is home from college for a couple of weeks before he heads off to the west coast to an internship for the summer. I can’t tell you how good it is to have him home! It seems like only yesterday when he was just little blonde headed boy, and now he is a strapping young man who has grown taller than his old man!
Seeing him, takes me back to those days. One routine that I recall was the nightly rounds before heading to bed. For me that involved letting the now deceased, Gizmo, the wonder dog out for her last patrol of the yard, checking to make sure all the doors were locked, the lights turned off, and making my stop outside my son's bedroom door. Most aspects of these rounds got routine and at times monotonous, but this became special to me.
It is was there where I lifted my only begotten son before the Father. It is there that I prayed for his salvation, protection and blessing. Though this may seem a strange place it became blessed because I not only loved the one I prayed for, but I knew I was loved by the one I am praying too.
One particular evening I had also been spending time in prayer for not only our church, but the nonbelievers in our community. I had been burdened by those needs, and praying for ways to get the saving knowledge of the Gospel to these people. How can an insignificant Presbyterian pastor begin to reach all those people?
As I stood outside that door I felt the Lord ask me just how much I loved these people. Up to that point I was pretty pious as to the extent of my love. Then I felt Him ask if I would be willing to give up my only son? My entire body went numb with the thought! Did I really love anyone in this world enough that I would give my up son's life? Honestly . . . No! He was a special little guy! He is my buddy! We laughed, we played ... I really loved that little guy! And he was the only child God let us to keep!
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son... Wow! God did that for me! God really DID love His ONLY Son! It was a great sacrifice for the Father to send His Son to a people who would reject Him and in the end kill Him. The very thought is unfathomable to me! Would I let my son die for those who hate me? For those who ridicule me and verbally lash me? I can't imagine it! But He did!
You see though I think I love my son, my love for Him is nothing compared to the love the Father has for His Son, and it is nothing compared to the love He has for the world! My experience that night outside my son's bedroom door will never be forgotten. It was a vivid reminder to me of the love of the Father. By God's grace I was not asked to act upon the test as Abraham was (Gen. 22), but by God's grace Isaac's life was spared, and by God's grace my son is alive, well and very active.
All of us find it very difficult to comprehend this love. It is truly unfathomable! The apostle Paul understood that and made it a matter of prayer for the Believers in Ephesus. Rather than giving a lengthy prayer list, He simply prayed that the Holy Spirit would give them the strength to “to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19 – ESV).