Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-11.
What do you think of when you hear the Name of Jesus? Do you think of the Son of God Who died on the cross? Do you think of Him rising from the grave? Do you think of Him as our Way to God? Or do you think about His time teaching and preaching on earth? Do you think of His miracles or power, His kingship and sovereignty? These are all powerful images of the Messiah, the long awaited Savior.
Now I want you to think of another picture. Can you think of Jesus holding a baby? That’s right, really think about that for a moment. How would He hold him? What would the look in His eyes say? Okay, now think of Jesus playing with a toddler. What would He be doing? Did you notice His smile? We could spend hours just thinking about how loving, tender and gentle Jesus would be with children at any stage, carrying them on His back, walking with them hand in hand, laughing and smiling with them. The pictures can make your heart swell.
Here’s a final idea for you. Imagine Jesus sitting with a man on death row. A little shocking compared to the last few, huh? Can you see the man, a criminal, sitting on one end of the bench in his cell, and Jesus sitting on the other end? Can you see the hardness of this fellow dressed in bright orange? This guy has done some really bad stuff. What does Jesus look like in this one? Dressed in white and sitting quietly, Jesus looks at this man with the same tender love and compassion as He had for the children. This is mind-blowing.
There aren’t words enough to describe the great love and compassion Jesus has for us. But even with this great grace He has given us and the deep, unending love He has for us, we still tend to forget about Him. We look at Him as our Boss rather than our greatest Lover ever. We forget what He has called us to because we get so caught up in ourselves and our own worlds. This is why it’s important to regularly take the time to remember what Jesus has done for us.
Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for our sins because God loved us so much, like a father’s love for his children. Jesus was buried and on the third day was raised again to life, becoming the first fruits of those who would be raised from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t mark the end of our redemption story, but a new beginning!
How many times has Jesus shown us grace and compassion when we didn’t deserve it? Too many to ever count. Jesus went and appeared to Peter, who had denied Him. He stood on the shore and watched as Peter’s boat made its way around the Sea of Galilee. Jesus first called out to the men on the boat, who did not recognize Him. He showed them Who He was. And He reinstated Peter, assuring him that he was forgiven, still loved, and still accepted. Jesus also appeared to all the Twelve, and then to hundreds of other believers.
Jesus appeared to James, who previously had not been a believer. He appeared to the other apostles. And finally, He appeared to Paul, who had been persecuting the church, and he became a believer too. Paul admits he never deserved to be an apostle, but God in His great grace made Paul a light for Him. He said, “his grace to me was not without effect” (see verse 10).
All throughout these events and His entire earthly ministry we see Jesus’ sweet love and compassion for us. We can see Him spending time with sinners, forgiving them, and making them new. Jesus didn’t just minister to those no one else wanted to minister to; He ministered to everyone. Pharisee or tax collector, fisherman or prostitute—He loved them all. And He didn’t do it on His own; it was the Father’s will for Him. God truly does love us, even though we are so undeserving. Jesus loves us in a tender, gentle, and sincere way. He doesn’t just love us like we “love” things. He loves us enough to come and die for us.
God loves us like a father loves his own baby, but so much more. Even now, when we mess up or go through hard times, He is there comforting us and giving us strength. He wants us to rely on Him, and He will be with us every time. Oh how powerful, great, and peace-giving is the tender, sweet love of Jesus! He surrounds us on every side, and His love is unconditional. Gentle and compassionate, comforting and powerful, He calms our fears and gives us grace. And it’s all Him, not anything we are or do.
There is power in the Name of Jesus. Say it now, and ask Him to help you accept and embrace His love for you! Thank You dear Lord Jesus!