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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Christ's Great Love for His Bride

And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)

Familiarity with the Scriptures, distraction with the world, and degraded attention spans may lead us to read and be unaffected by passages of Scripture that should rattle our teeth.  It’s takes discipline to slow down and really think about what we’re reading and how significant it is.

Consider briefly the magnitude of John 14:3 for conveying the love of Christ for sinners.  Jesus doesn’t regard the mass of sinners whom He rescued at the cross a large group of cattle owned to be kept somewhere out back, so to speak, although He has every right to regard them that way.  There is nothing inherent in us that makes us lovely to the eternal Son.  Election is all of grace according to His divine prerogative (Deut 7:6-8; Rom 9:10-13, 11:6).  He chose us not because we were lovely, but because He is gracious.

So there is no obligation imposed on Him that He would treat us as more than cattle.  Saving us from our sins was far beyond the call of duty.  But passages like John 14 (John 13-16, in fact) expose to us that Christ genuinely delights in those whom He has saved.  Far from considering them a nameless and faceless throng of sinners, a herd of cattle, or a band of barely reformed delinquents, He loves them as a young husband loves his bride. 

The language of John 14:3 shows a Savior who longs to be with His bride.  I will take you to Myself.  Consider the other ways this could have been said.  “I will take you to heaven.”  “I will remove you from that horrible place.”  “I’ll prevent you from being alone.”  Those would all be sentiments no doubt cherished by the church, but none so precious as what the Lord actually said – I will take you to Myself.  Again this is the kind of language you’d expect of a lover to his bride.  It’s not merely that Christ wants to give us heaven.  But He wants to give us Himself and He wants us for Himself. 

Some of us may conceive of Jesus holding His nose as He kisses His bride.  But this is a dreadfully wrong understanding of how thoroughly His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  He has never loved us because of what we were or what we offered but because of who He is.  And that is why noticing this kind of statement in John 14:3 doesn’t make much of man, but much of Christ.  It demonstrates the purely unconditional nature of His love toward the church. 

Behold, the great love of Christ!  Saving us was not enough to satisfy Him.  Revealing Himself was not enough.  Revealing the Father was not enough.  But He goes to prepare a place for us that we might be with Him…and be His for eternity.


Unknown said...

Thank you Pastor Greg! So insightful and clear! Such a marvelous,Blessing,to have you surrender yourself as our "Ambassador" for Christ, allowing Him to use you to present GODS Word so clearly to us! Very grateful!

Greg Birdwell said...

I'm so thankful this was helpful to you. These are glorious things to consider!