To Him Who Loves Us

On Sunday we saw that the love of God is demonstrated in the cross of Jesus. The cross is the place where we know definitely and vividly that God loves us, the undeserving. There is no more room for doubts, okay? We’re not allowed to scratch our heads anymore about God’s heart toward us. The cross shows it. And it’s love — costly, glorious, profound love.

And there’s also more. The love that God shows us on the cross didn’t just pop out of a vacuum, but it’s rooted in the essence of God. It’s who God is, for God is love (1 John 4:16). So then, what is vivid and visible in the cross is deep and eternal in God. That Friday in 30AD, outside of Jerusalem, on the hill of Golgotha, in that historical moment, God displayed his everlasting love for his people — and he gave us the lens through which to see into his heart. The cross is that important, which is why the apostle Paul called it a canon for life (see Galatians 6:14–16).

And wrapped up into this, integral to the work of Jesus, is the person of Jesus. What Jesus did was so significant because of who Jesus is. Of course, right? We understand that. But then this week it landed on me all over again as I was reading a new book of old sermons by Eugene Peterson. He was expounding Psalm 110, describing what it means that Jesus is both king and priest, and I nearly had this moment of holy laughter. It’s so good. The glory of Jesus. The wonder and majesty of Jesus. Who is like him? Here, read about him yourself:

Jesus is king. Jesus is priest. No question about that. But he is neither king nor priest in the way we are in the habit of defining them. We have to let Jesus be king and priest in his own way. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, all the scattered materials of truth and revelation were assembled into an organic whole, a stunning act of redemption. Messiah is put together out of the fragmented functions of king and priest, the work of ruling and the work of saving. The king represented God’s power to rule, to shape and guide life. The priest represented God’s power to renew, to forgive and invigorate life. The king, associated with the palace, operated in the external realm of politics; the priest, associated with the temple, operated in the inner world of the spirit. The king was in charge of horizontal, earthly relationships; the priest was in charge of vertical, heavenly relationships. The one gave structure to life; the other gave life to the structure. 

In Messiah the two acts are parts of a whole: God rules and God saves. All the parts of the universe fall into place. All the longings of spirit find a single goal. The life without and the life within become a single life: the life of God in Jesus Christ, King and Priest, Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ becomes the putting together and centering of all things. (As Kingfishers Catch Fire, 69).

So then Jesus is all we need, and everything we need. And if we had to have one word for it, for his reigning and rescuing, for the theme of his kingdom of salvation, it’s love. It’s Jesus.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
— Revelation 1:5–6