“Good News For All The People”—Daily Reflections for Advent 2016
THE TWENTY-FIRST DAY OF ADVENT, December 17th
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10
More than a generation ago Marshall McLuhan predicted the World Wide Web and started people talking about the “global village”. But McLuhan is best remembered for the maxim: “The medium is the message.” By that he meant that the medium by which we communicate plays a vital role in the way the message is received. A dozen red roses say love in a way that a text message never can. Yes, the medium is the message.
Today’s Scripture says that the medium of God sending His only Son into the world for us is His message of unfathomable love. If ever we wonder if God loves us, or how much He loves us, His message is clear. God loves us more than He loves Himself; He lays down His life for us.
We had fled God, fought Him and feared Him, all the while longing for Him. Yet, God found a way to communicate His love for such skittish, straying rebels as we: “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” It is hard to wrap our minds around such selfless, incomprehensible love. It is love that holds nothing back. God was ready to give His life “so that we might live through him.”
In our saner moments we know there is a world of difference between living and merely existing. Jesus said that He came that people might “have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). This is life, not just for the world to come, but real life for us today as we believe in Him.
Today’s Scripture drives home the point that it was God who took the initiative in reaching out to us. He proved His love for us: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
We see that love does not start with us, but with God. It is God who defines love for us by giving His Son to overcome our sin. God fiercely hates sin because of what it does to His children, defacing His image in them and consuming the life He intends. It is because God so loves us that He is fiercely determined to defeat sin. By Jesus’ life, death and resurrection God removes sin from us, condemning it and healing us where we are broken. This is proof of God’s love for us! The medium is the message of His relentless, triumphant love. If we missed it here, the apostle Paul repeats it: “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
It is up to us to believe the good news of God’s love for us. In 1736, John Wesley came from England to the colony of Georgia to proclaim God’s good news for the world. In Wesley’s journal he wrote that on his first day in America he met a German pastor, Mr. Spangenberg. Mr. Spangenberg asked Wesley: “Do you know Christ?” Wesley hesitated for a moment and said: “I know that He is Savior of the world.” Mr. Spangenberg persisted: “But do you know that He has saved you?” Wesley was stunned with the question; he realized that he had preached Jesus as the Savior of the world without first believing in Jesus as his Savior. How joyous and transforming it was for Wesley, and can be for us, to believe that God’s good news for the world is also God’s good news for us!
- What is the proof of God’s love for you? Take a few moments to reflect on God’s love for you.
- What do you want to do today in response to God’s good news for you?