Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection (Easter 2018)
I love my wife very much. I quickly admit that, second only to Jesus, I love her more than anything. I try to tell her often how much I love her, but far too often I fail to show her my love. Thankfully, because of her love for Jesus, she is very forgiving when I fail to live up to being the husband I want to be. The reality I live in is that, at times, my actions do not match up with what I say. Or from the old saying, my walk doesn’t match my talk.
My wife recognizes that, as an imperfect person, it is impossible for me to demonstrate my love for her perfectly. Her love for me is not measured by or dependent on my ability to show her love in tangible ways. But when I put my love in action, those actions communicate what is deep within me, and it validates the words I often say: “I love you.”
In relationship with God, my actions fall short of communicating and expressing my love for Him, too. Through prayer and praise, I tell God I love Him, but in the midst of everyday life, I fail to keep His commands, even though Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commands” (John 14:15). Of course, we should be careful not to lean on obedience alone as the Pharisees did. (See Matthew 23:28.) We must obey from the overflow of love within us (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a). Similarly we cannot truly love without accompanying action (John 14:15; James 2:17; 1 John 3:18). In our finite humanity, we are unable to love God the way we want, and we are also unable to live out our love the way we should. We are helplessly inadequate. Enter Jesus.
Romans 5:7-8 helps us see how God’s love for us was demonstrated by His action. Even deep in our inadequacy, Jesus loves us. In fact while we were enemies of God, Jesus poured out His love in action. He was born as a man, lived a perfect life, and died on a cross in our place. His love was displayed by action … by sacrifice.
Jesus’ love for us is far greater than our inability to love Him and live for Him. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are not the end of the story, but the center of it. Everything that was written about Jesus in the Old Testament and spoken by the prophets was coming true. By Jesus’ death and victorious resurrection, we can be forgiven and made clean before God. His forgiveness does not just cover our explicit disobedience; it also covers our inability to love and live the way we should.
The Easter, remind kids that God sent Jesus to earth out of love for us. Jesus willingly laid down His life out of love for us. Jesus also rose from the grave out of love for us. Jesus’ love was not idle. Point kids to Jesus as the ultimate example of love in action as you help them see who Jesus is and what He has done. Jesus loves us with an incomparable love, and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:31-39).
Jeremy Carroll (@jermpc) is the team leaderfor The Gospel Project for Kids. Before coming to LifeWay, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.