For 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. (John 3:16)
The story of Scripture is the story of a Father’s love for his children. It is the story of a Father faithfully reaching out to the children who reject him. It is the story of a loving God who never gives up.
In the beginning God created the universe and everything in it. He took joy in all he had created. But the man and woman—created in his image—made a terrible choice. They broke their relationship with their loving Father.
The consequences were dreadful—selfishness, greed, strife, and death. But God still loved them as a father loves his children, so he offered them another chance. He made Abraham the father of a new nation, Israel, which would bless God’s children. Israel could reestablish the goodness of God’s kingdom and live as a nation under the authority of their Father.
But Israel struggled, and they, too, chose to do it their way, apart from God. Israel spent four hundred years in captivity in Egypt. Then God sent a leader to free his people from captivity. They still doubted, disobeyed, and complained. Seeing their confusion, God gave them the Law to guide them into right behavior, to help them understand God’s truth and justice. He taught them symbolically, through animal sacrifices, that their sin had consequences and would have to be dealt with. And he granted them a king.
But over hundreds of years, most of their kings led Israel away from God. They were conquered by other nations. God sent them prophets to warn and correct them, but they would not listen. So God went silent for almost five hundred years until it was time for the great rescue mission.
As the ultimate act of love, God’s own Son, Jesus, would lead the rescue. He became a man. For three years he poured into his followers, teaching them the ways of this new kingdom, preparing them to proclaim it. Then he offered himself as the Lamb of God, sacrificed to pay for the sins of humanity.
But God was not finished. The penalty paid, justice satisfied, and death defeated, Jesus arose. The revolution had just begun. Jesus rallied his disciples, explained the incredible events, and showed them how it had all been predicted by the prophets. He gave them their mission. He pledged to send a helper. He promised to return when the job was done. And then, Jesus left.
Does anything in this summary of the Bible’s great story surprise you? How does it impact your view of God?
God, thank you for loving me enough to pursue me, to give your son for me, and to include me in your great plans for your children.