how much does Jesus love the church?


hands

Enough to pay an unimaginable price to bring her into complete alignment with himself. His hands tell the story. They are wonderful hands. Hands that fashion the Universe. “All things were created through him and for him.” Hands that took on flesh and became tiny baby hands. Hands that became tough as he practiced a carpenter’s trade. Hands that healed lepers and gave sight to the blind. Hands that popped open the ears of the deaf and blessed little children. Perfect hands whose movements were always innocent and sinless. Hands that were nailed to a cross with nine-inch iron spikes. Bloody hands that ceased moving so that ours could move forever. That’s how much he loves the church. His hands bear the scars at this very moment as he sits at the right hand of the Majesty on High, pleading our case and praying for us and waiting eagerly for the big day. The day he takes our hand in his and makes us his Bride forever.

air

In the beginning through Jesus, God spoke air into existence. Then he formed man out of the dust of the dust and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. But Jesus did not count his equality with God a thing to be grasped; he emptied himself and took on flesh and lungs and need for air to stay alive. The breathed out so many wonderful words. Words that thousands of years later still bring hope and meanings. One day he arched his back and breathed his last, screaming at the top of his lungs, “It is finished.” He suffocated to death so that we could live and breath forever. That’s how much he loves his Bride. When the awestruck centurion saw the way Jesus took his last breath he whispered, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” He was right. On the morning of the third day Jesus came out of the tomb, breathing. And later that night he breathed on his fallen-star, blockhead disciples and they received the Holy Spirit. The world has never been the same, because at that moment the church was born.

So when you walk out of your church feeling indignant, and justified at being disappointed or critical, remember–you, too, are a fallen star and a blockhead, just like every other person in that place. When you feel like keeping Jesus but quitting the church, remember who she is–the precious Bride of Christ. Can you really love him without loving her? Isn’t being a member of her the world’s highest privilege? Don’t miss out on the privilege just because she’s still imperfect.

Red Like Blood. Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington. Shepherds Press, Wapwallopen, PA. 2011. 189-190.

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