Pastor Mark’s 100th Devotion, Aug 6

“No Greater Love”

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

 

It was a casual Sunday afternoon. Daniel was in deep conversation with his mom, while they worked in the basement of their home. Daniel turned to his mom, with a tear in his eye and said, “Mom, let’s keep talking. I love talking to you.” Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Daniel turned his head and asked, “Who is that?” Little did he know that Evil was standing at their front door. Within seconds, Daniel ran upstairs, the sound of bullets rang out, and a voice screamed, “NO!” In one demonic moment, Evil claimed another victim. Daniel lay on the floor dead, having taken a gun shot directly to his chest, while protecting his dad from the armed assailant.

Two weeks ago, we heard of this tragic encounter in New Jersey, aimed at U.S District Judge Esther Salas and her family. The parents losing their one and only son, Daniel, is virtually unfathomable. That they lost him while he was defending and protecting their very lives is nearly overwhelming. They are in shock, numb and emotionally inconsolable in their grief.   

Judge Salas and her husband went to church that Sunday morning. I wonder what the Gospel reading was for that day? Is it possible that it could have been from John 15? Perhaps John 15:13. Did they hear Jesus say, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” What about laying down one’s life for their family? If so, how sharp the sting. What could it all mean?

No Greater Love…that is why we are here! We hear stories and accounts of great sacrifice, great commitment, great surrender. People sacrifice themselves for the love of another. And when looking directly into the face of evil, a son sacrificed for the sake of his father, and his mother – is there any greater love?

The sacrifice of Salas’ son, painfully points us to the sacrifice of God’s One and Only Son. There is no greater love!  Jesus, looked into the eyes of evil upon the cross, protected and defended his family on earth, and took a shot from sin that cost him is life. The Evil one took his best shot. His mother’s heart ripped with emotions unresolved. His followers lost to its meaning, in despair. A centurion, in chaos, cried out the unexamined truth, “Surely, he was the Son of God!” But the truth would soon come clear and appear.

Can you imagine if on Tuesday morning, Daniel, the One, three days slain, busted through the door of their family home and with all the energy of new life, questioned, “What’s for Breakfast?” Then he breezed into the kitchen, embraced his mother and father, and taking in a deep breath, looked straight into their eyes and declared, “Oh, How I Love You!!”

Can you imagine the raw emotion, the unresolved thoughts, the euphoria that would explode in seeing their son, who was once dead, but who is now alive? The celebration! The exhilaration would be unimaginable. The transformation would be unbelievable. But this would never happen, because we know that people do not come back from the dead. Or do they?

We are together as the body of Christ, because of the audacious claim that the One who was killed on the cross, came back to life after three days dead. What you would imagine is all that is recorded. Celebration, euphoria, disbelief and questions all suddenly arose in chaotic fashion. Jesus was alive, it was too good to be true – could they dare believe something that was far and away beyond their feeble faith? One follower was honest enough to say that unless he physically saw this One and tangibly touched him, he would never believe. A week later, the One who had died, graciously reappeared and genuinely resuscitated faith as never before.  Life would never be the same. This moment of revelation would change them forever. The world would begin to be turned upside down.

Jesus Christ, he is why we are here! Jesus laid down his life and conquered sin. Jesus was raised to new life and conquered death!

Over the last 100 devotions we have traveled far. We have covered a variety of topics, shared a variety of stories and focused upon a variety of Scriptures. For this 100th devotion, dare I miss the point for all this writing? His name is Jesus. He is our resurrected Lord, Messiah and Christ. There is no greater love than in this One who gave his life as a ransom for many.

Now, may all that we say; may all that we do; may all that we are; let it all rest upon our One Redeemer. And because of Jesus, Daniel Salas’ parents, who will forever carry a scar here on earth, will one day be forever carried into eternity – and they will never be the same. Because Jesus lives, Daniel, his mother, Esther, and his father, Mark, will forever live and love. For there is a Savior that awaits them beyond the pain, beyond the grave. His name is Jesus. And in Him, there is No Greater Love!    

God Bless You All!

Pastor Mark

 

P.S. – I will be taking a break from writing devotions until after Labor Day. Thank you for all your support, encouragement and feedback over these last four+ months. To God Be the Glory!

 


Leave a Reply