The Gospel in a Nutshell

Well, that what my Dad calls it anyway. I used to resist what my Dad taught about Scripture, figuring myself the one who went to Bible college and learned stuff. But as I’ve grown up a bit, I find that everyone possesses a bit of wisdom when it comes to Scripture. Everyone brings their own life experience to the Bible, and the Bible reflects that back to them, speaking to each in a way each understands. Two people can read the same verse and find different emphases that touch them in different ways. Both are equally valid, and when shared, can be helpful to both.

One thing that strikes me about this verse is the “only” in front of “son.” I have two sons. I would not want to give up either of them. I certainly wouldn’t want to give them up to save someone else. Being a father myself, I know something now I didn’t when I was young. Fathers love their sons in ways they cannot know before they become fathers. This son is a reflection of your being and personality. This new person sometimes reflects your best qualities, sometimes not. Sometimes he is wiser than you. This person has your face, and eventually, your voice. This person is a younger version of you, and you have hopes for him you didn’t know you had. You want him to succeed. You want him to pursue things you did not, to overcome regrets you had for yourself. It isn’t fair to lay such a burden on him, but we do it anyway, if only subconsciously.

So to have such a person before you, and then to send that person to go and die for others. Sorry, that’s more love than I have. To send your special, unique, only son to die for a host of recalcitrant children who don’t care? This is the kind of love God has for us. This is the gospel in a nutshell, condensed into one verse. And I am so grateful that Jesus chose to fulfill this task, or I would not know the Father who so loved. I would not have known that kind of love without Him. Thank You Lord Jesus for showing us that love.

As we prepare our hearts for the Easter season, remember the love that was spent for you. Remember the One who loves you. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Lord God, help me today remember Your sacrifice of love on my account. You loved me so much that you gave your unique, special, only Son to die for my sin on that cruel cross. You in your infinite knowledge, despite knowing every ounce of agony of your blessed Son, still thought it worth the price of seeing me and my brothers and sisters into the Kingdom. Despite this, we still falter. We still sin. We still forget. Lord help me remember. Thank You Lord Jesus for your love for the brethren, to be made like us, to suffer for us, to rise again to lead us in hope into Your Kingdom! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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