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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”—Ephesians 5:2 (NLT)
I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I’ve studied the Bible my whole life, have three degrees in biblical studies, and yet, I still constantly ask myself, What kept Jesus on the cross? How could God Himself have so willingly endured the shame of being arrested and put on trial by the very people He rescued time and time again? How could the Lord of the universe have allowed Himself the indignities of being insulted, mocked, and spit on by His creation? How could the all-powerful God have silently taken the inhumane physical torture and horrid death on the cross?
What kept Him on that cross? It wasn’t the nails in His hands and feet. It was love! That’s why Jesus said, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (John 10:18 NIV). He wasn’t forced on the cross or killed involuntarily. “He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us” (Ephesians 5:2 NLT).
He took all that we deserved, the entirety of the debt the sinfulness of all mankind had accrued, and He carried it on His back. He wore the thorns of our wickedness on His head and was nailed to the cross by the hammer of our depravity. He did it all by His great love so we could come close to Him; He drew us near “with gentle cords, with bands of love” (Hosea 11:4 NKJV).
Now, I don’t know about you, but for me, this moves me so deeply that it compels me to want to embody what Paul says: “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” It makes me want to live and breathe this love, to walk (peripateite: walk around in a complete circuit; to going full circle) in the steps He laid out for me, not out of obligation but inspiration and gratitude.
I still can’t fully fathom Christ’s love for us. I can’t believe He deemed us worth dying for, worth saving, that He went through all He did in order to adopt us into His family . . . but I know that I owe Him everything. I know that I want to be like Him, and I know that I want others to experience His inexplicable, indescribable love. I pray we can be a people that fully embrace this call and embody our Savior’s love to a world that so desperately needs it!
DIG: Read Ephesians 5:1–20 and Hosea 11:1–11.
DISCOVER: How are you following His example? What do you believe it means to walk in love?
DISPLAY: Today, let your life be a fragrant offering to the Lord. Intentionally seek out someone you can serve and show love to.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.