Summary: The gift of Christ is the proof of God’s love.
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GOD’S PROVES HIS LOVE
This Saturday is Valentine’s Day. This is the day when a man is supposed to give his girlfriend or wife a special gift to show that he loves her. Popular gifts include flowers, candy, and jewelry. God gave us a much costlier gift to prove His love for us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
► The gift of Christ is the PROOF of God’s love.
Why does God love us?
God is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
CHRIST DIED FOR US
God’s love is seen in the four words: “Christ died for us.” Let’s take a closer look at each of these words.
1. The person who died
Christ died for us
Some scholars believe the date was April 3, A.D. 33. Pilate, the Roman governor over Judea, was finished questioning Jesus concerning the accusations brought against Him by the leaders of the Jews. He could find no reason to put Him to death. Yet he knew that if he didn’t give the people what they wanted, a riot was likely to break out in Jerusalem. Finally, he addressed the impatient mob waiting outside his palace. “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” he asked. “Crucify him!” was the reply.
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3).
The soldiers led Jesus away to be flogged. He was stripped of His clothes, tied to a post, and beaten by several soldiers with a whip. The whip was probably made of leather strips fitted with pieces of bone or lead. The historian Josephus reports that a man named Jesus, son of Ananias, was brought before Albinus and “flayed to the bone with scourges.” Eusebius writes that certain martyrs were “lacerated by scourges even to the innermost veins and arteries, so that the hidden inward parts of the body, both their bowels and their members, were exposed to view.”
After the scourging, the soldiers put a robe on Jesus. It was probably an old garment that had been discarded by one of the soldiers. Matthew says the robe was scarlet, but Mark and John call it “purple”—suggesting that is was badly faded. It was probably the nearest thing to the royal color of purple the soldiers could find. Their aim was to make a complete mockery of His claim to be a king.
Of course, every king needs a crown, so the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on Jesus’ head. These thorns could have been up to several inches long. They would have sunk deep into Jesus’ head, causing blood to gush out and distort His face.
“His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 52:14).
A staff was put in Jesus’ right hand to act as a scepter. Then the soldiers fell on their knees and paid mock homage to Him. They cried, “Hail, king of the Jews!” They spit on Him and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again.
“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).
In all of this, Jesus remained silent. He was guilty of nothing, yet He never said a word.
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
Others had declared His innocence, but Jesus never defended Himself. Judas cried, “I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). Pilate announced, “I find no fault in him” (John 19:4 KJV). The thief said, “This man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41). The centurion exclaimed, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54 KJV). But Jesus never said a word. He was beaten, mocked, and spit upon, yet He took it all … silently.
“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats” (1 Peter 2:23).
► Christ died WILLINGLY.
“It is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27 KJV). For us death is an appointment; but for Jesus it was a choice. He said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18).
2. The death He died
Christ died for us
Jesus “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). He didn’t experience an ordinary death. He suffered the death of the cross.