Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why I Love Jesus

It was at a baptism I first heard the question posed. It was not asked of me, but of those being baptized. When the question first came to my ears, it truck terror in my heart. It seems that I was at a loss for words to answer. It should not be like this.

By Gods grace, that terror lasting only a few seconds quickly turned to joy as answers to the question came flooding into my mind, into my heart. The question that was so moving- Why do I love Jesus?

This is a very good question, and one which probably cannot be adequately answered. But, I have been enjoying it’s contemplation.

Why do I love Jesus?

First and foremost, I love Jesus because He first loved me. While I was a sinner, an enemy, one who denied him, hated Him, He consented to come to earth for the express purpose of hanging on the cross, to the point of death- for the forgiveness of sin. Even my sin. I love Jesus because He first loved me.

I love Jesus because He opened the eyes of my heart so that I might begin to see Him for who and what He is. My dead heart was so filled with desire and love for other things that I had no room for seeing him. If I could not see Him and all that He is, I would not love him. He has opened my eyes to see what a treasure there is to be found in him. I love Him because He opened my eyes to see him.

I love Jesus because He has given me a new heart to appreciate him. It is one thing to see and to know about. It is quite another to appreciate, to rejoice in. One is the function of the body (the seeing) the other is a function of the heart (the appreciating- the feeling). Here I am speaking of the actually experiencing who He is- He has given me a heart to experience all that He is for me. I love Him because He has given me a new heart.

I love Jesus because He is loveable. Once we begin to perceive glimpses of who He is, it is impossible not to love him. His majesty, his kindness, his mercy, his faithfulness, his truthfulness, his compassion, his authority, his power and his might- all this and all the rest that He is, once we begin to perceive it, overwhelms me with love and adoration and worship for him. I love Him because He is loveable.

I love Jesus because He lived a perfect life of obedience, a righteous life, and then covered me with His robe of righteousness. Because He has done this, clothed me thusly, I am able to approach the Father without being consumed. Oh what grace! What mercy! I love Jesus because He is righteous and has clothed me in His righteousness.

I love Jesus because He is so overflowing in his love for his glory, He saw fit to endure creation. And not only that, He created and planned and decided to endure a creation that would be a fallen creation, so that He might display more of his glorious mercy and grace and wrath and holiness- all of which we creatures could not have known (not experientially- not with the heart) to the degree we can know it now. I can know the love and mercy and grace of Christ to the extent that I know what I have been saved from and to the extent that I know what I was saved for (eternity in heaven with Him) and to the extent that I understand the price paid for that saving. He has shown me my wickedness, and the wickedness of it. I love Him because He loved his glory and the displaying of it for my pleasure enough to endure a fallen world and the cross.

I love Jesus because He has opened my eyes to see the emptiness of all that I am prone to embrace apart from him. He has shown me that all pursuits apart from Him are sin, and will not satisfy. Through this, He has made room in my heart for him. I only wish He would move more quickly here. I love Jesus because He has shown me the reality that only He satisfies- only He is faithful to fulfill- all other endeavors and pursuits are vain and will only disappoint- they are a waste of time and energy! I love Jesus because He opened my eyes to the vanity of all pursuits apart from him.

I love Jesus because He promises to continue to show me all He is for me and to mold me- to increase my capacity to love and enjoy that which He shows me- all the while increasing my capacity to enjoy Him in heaven when and where I will see Him face to face. “He who has begun a good work in you…” which He has, “will be faithful to complete it.” Or in another place “…those who have been justified, will be sanctified.” This is a promise I love and long to collect on. Because as I am sanctified- as the desires of my heart are turned from the seen to the unseen, as my affections are removed from the things of this world to the things of Christ, my longing for and my capacity to enjoy Christ in heaven will be increased. My bliss and reward in heaven will be greater because He promises, if I “…make me [him] the desire of your [my] heart, and I [he] will grant you [me] the desires of your [my] heart.” Oh how I want to be sanctified. Well, He has promised to do it, and then He hung on the cross to prove that there is no good thing He will withhold from me. This I know He will do. I love Jesus because He will continue to sanctify me just as He has justified me.

I love Jesus because He has made a way for me to see all that He is and enjoy it. He has made a way for me to approach him, and his Father, with joy and anticipation, certainly with some trembling, but not with dread. Because He made a way, paid my price, I can love, long for, meeting Him face to face with the anticipation of experiencing the most glorious and exquisite joy in my being welcomed into the kingdom rather than dreading the judgment that would be mine in that face to face meeting. Without the cross all I would know is dread. With the way He has made, I have joy filled hope. I love Jesus because He has made a way for me to enjoy all the rest that he, his father, and his spirit are for me.

I love Jesus because He sustains me. He knows me. He knows what I need. He knows what is good for me. He knows what is bad for me. He has through his work on the cross, seen that the Father’s wrath against me is satisfied. So that all that comes my way, all which happens to me, all that touches my life, comes to me through my Father’s loving hand rather than his wrathful anger.

Whether I find it easy, or it makes me hurt, I know because of Jesus, it is not wrath, but love. It is not punishment, but discipline. It is not bad, only hard. It is, in fact, good.
Oh the difference the work of Jesus makes in the life of a sinner! I love Jesus because He sustains me.

I love Jesus because He sustains the universe, my universe. Even the atoms are held together by his mighty power. Ever consider what protons are doing in such close proximity as seen in the nucleus of an atom? Logic says they shouldn’t be there. Protons are like charges, and like charges repel each other. It is, in fact, this very power, the energy stored by these protons being in close proximity, that is released in an atomic bomb. Yet, there they are, held closely together, by the power of Jesus. Scientist may find another way to describe what is happening, but they will never find another way to explain it. Because by Him, through Him, and to Him are all things. Oh how glorious and lovable and worshipful He is when we see Him in the smallest of things.

I love Jesus because He holds the stars and planets in the heavens for my eyes to behold and adore His power and glory in the heavens. From the smallest of things to the largest of things, I see His power and I am awed. I am moved to love and to worship. How can I not be? How could I not love such a one as this? I love Jesus because He displays His glory before me and I cannot help but love Him.

OH God, help me to love Him more!