MANY CHRISTIANS have a hard time personalizing God’s love. For those in this condition
meditation on God’s love is helpful. The Bible gives us good material. One example occurred the night before Jesus’ death.
“After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them [a follower of Jesus], for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:73–75).
The gravity of betrayal is according to the dignity and worth of the one betrayed. If you betray your pet it is not even a sin. If you betray your spouse it is sinful, but if you betray God himself it is mega-sinful. Peter committed a greats sin. He betrayed Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world..
Peter failed his Friend in his hour of greatest need. Instead, he yielded to craven fear. He was not loyal. Then to cover it up he called down a curse upon himself. In essence he told the bystanders, “I do not know the man. If I am lying may God’s cursing come crashing down upon me.” Ironically, what Peter asked for happened, but the curse didn’t land on him.
It landed on the One he betrayed, Jesus.
To an ancient Jew to be cursed by God was life’s greatest calamity. On the other hand, God’s blessing was life’s greatest good. Here is the measure of Christ’s love for Peter, and by extension, you and me. Although Peter had alienated himself from Jesus and sinned greatly, Jesus took the curse that Peter called down upon himself. He went to the cross to obtain his Father’s forgiveness for Peter’s sin against himself. He did this so that Peter, the one who betrayed him, could receive the blessing that Jesus deserved.
Jesus did the same for each Christian reading these words. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” (Galatians 3:13). What is most striking is that Jesus did this for someone who had deeply hurt and disappointed him.
I recently spent a couple of days with an individual who talked non stop about himself. He wasn’t interested in anyone else. I felt snubbed and ignored. My feelings were hurt. I was irritated and didn’t want to be around him. My gut reaction was to walk away from the relationship.
Thank goodness God is not like us. His gut-reaction was not to walk away from Peter, it was to die for him.
This is what God’s is like. That is how God has loved each Christian reading these words.
If you are struggling to feel God’s personal love for you, meditate on this today.