Summary: How can we even begin to comprehend God’s love for us?
“The Ultimate Love”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Have you ever noticed while reading the Gospel of John…How the author of this Gospel refers to himself?
He doesn’t refer to himself by name…or in a sense maybe he does.
He calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Now we do know that his given name was actually John the son of Zebedee.
He’s the same guy who wrote the Epistles of John and also the Book of Revelation.
But he calls himself by another name… “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Why is this?
Did Jesus love this disciple more than the others?
It doesn’t appear that John felt this way.
John talks about how Jesus loved Mary and Martha and…well…he tells us how Jesus even wept over the death of his dear friend Lazarus.
And in our passage for this morning, he quotes Jesus as saying, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
So what made John feel so special?
Could it be that after having had a life-changing encounter with the Son of the Living God…
…after having experienced first-hand the forgiving and accepting love of Christ…
…after having traveled with Him for so long…
…after having watched Him die on the Cross at Calvary…
…and having seen Him after He had been raised from the dead….
… that John’s life had been changed so dramatically…
…His identity had been so forever marked by the love of Christ…
…that there was no other name by which he could think of to express who he was?
Have you ever known someone who you knew loved you so much…
…that you had no doubt in your mind that they would love you unconditionally—no matter what—that you could feel as though you could say “I am the person whom that person loves?”…
…and because of that love my life is worth living.
I have a purpose.
I have a meaning.
I have a calling.
I am made to feel like a person of worth because of that love?
If you have, you are very blessed.
And as Christians, together here this morning, if we are able to get even a glimpse of the nature of the profound love that God has for each and every one of us…
…we should all be able to leave here with the life affirming and life giving ability to say, “I am the disciple whom Jesus loves!”
Sure, I’ve got a million faults…and Jesus knows about every one of them.
I’m not perfect…not even close…
…I am always making mistakes…
…and there are some sins in my life that I still can’t seem to shake…
…and I may be kind of goofy, or I may be overweight, or I may not have much money, or my boss doesn’t treat me well….
….but Jesus loves me!
And that is what makes my life worth living.
I believe it.
I know it to be true.
And all my problems pale in comparison to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior…
…knowing that He loves me despite of myself…
…and nothing on earth, in heaven or in hell can change that fact!!!
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
There is nothing more profound than this!
There is no greater news!!!
J.C. Massee told of a friend who traveled a great distance for an interview with a distinguished scholar.
When the man arrived, he received a cordial reception.
Before being seated, he said to his host, “Doctor, I notice that the walls of your study are lined with books from the ceiling to the floor. No doubt you have read them all.
I know you have traveled extensively, and doubtless you’ve had the privilege of conversing with some of the world’s wisest men—its leaders of thought, its creators of opinion.
I have come a long way to ask you just one question.
Tell me, of all you’ve learned, what is the one thing most worth knowing?”
Putting his hand on the guest’s shoulder, the scholar replied with emotion in his voice, “My dear sir, of all the things I have learned, only two are really worth knowing.
The first is that I am a great sinner.
The second is that Jesus Christ is a great Savior!”
Now, I don’t mean to offend anyone, but right here and now, seated in the sanctuary of Parkview United Methodist Church are a great many sinners.
Sometimes we aren’t real nice to one another.
Sometimes our feelings get hurt by an unkind gesture from another.
Sometimes the pastor messes things up bad.