I once was dead, but now I am alive. I once was lost, but now I’m found. I once had no purpose, no direction, and no point to my life, until I met Jesus. In Him is life, a better life than anything that I could have ever imagined. I owe it all to Christ, who gave His life for me. Since I have been crucified with Christ, I have also risen with Him. Since I have been baptized in Christ, I have been raised with Him. Though I may live in my flesh, I live by faith. I live by hope. I live by the promise of the Son who rose that I too will rise again when my flesh is no more.
Do you know what it’s like to feel loved like that? To be loved so much that someone is willing to give their whole life for you? Paul makes it personal in this verse. He does not remark “He died for us,” but “He died for me.” Paul knew what Jesus was like. He had met Him. Though some debate it, I believe Paul and Jesus had long conversations together outside of Damascus for three years, with Jesus teaching him personally. I believe Paul applied a unique understanding to this education through his vast intellect and education in the rabbinic schools. Of all the disciples, only Paul possessed this kind of education. It was because of this education that he became a zealot for persecution, and this was also his greatest shame. Like Peter before him, Paul needed that extra measure of time and attention from Jesus (“Peter, do you love Me?”) to turn his soul around. I see Jesus taking the necessary time to transform Saul to Paul, the raging anti-Christian zealot to the devoted follower of Jesus. Imagine the contrast Paul must have seen between the forgiving Christ and the Church he met in Jerusalem. They didn’t want him and were afraid of him. But he had seen and known Jesus. He loved and eventually overcame their insecurities to become a powerful evangelist and missionary due in part to Barnabas’ patience.
If you have ever been in need of motivation, I want you to take some encouragement from the Apostle Paul. Paul made it personal because it is personal. Jesus died for you. He died for all but He also died for you. Jesus made it personal when He came in the flesh and we discovered His name, Jesus. He was no longer the “Word” of God. He was God in flesh, flesh just like mine. He lived and breathed. He had a real human voice. He did this for me. He loves me so much, He not only had prophets predict His coming, but Apostles to ensure that His story would reach my ears. This is the love of a God who loves me above everything else. This is the God who saves, and saves me, even such a one as me.
It is helpful sometimes to consider that Jesus saves me, because sometimes I don’t feel very useful or important. But Christian don’t hold onto this as if it’s your very own, and only your own. This is a message that needs to be spread to all people, all the “me’s” out there who are desperate for purpose, for mission, for direction in their lives. Savor the personal nature of salvation, but don’t hold onto it. Share it! Savor it, but spread it! Let it motivate you to become a spokesman to someone else. Let the love of Christ so overflow the banks of your own heart as to fill someone else. The flow you receive will only grow stronger when it goes out to others.
Lord Jesus, help me to practice this faith, in my life and in my home. I need you today more than ever. Show me those today for whom I can pray and share my faith. Grant me the discernment not to throw my pearls before swine, but for hearts that have been prepared for Your message this day. For this I pray. Amen.