How could love ever find a place in the heart of a human if it did not know what that humanís life were like? How could love experience peace or joy, how could it know hunger or desire? How could we as human beings ever appreciate that love if it could not sympathize with our needs, with our very lives?
At the beginning God was seen by His creations as distant. Only approachable by a select few. Those that were not deemed worthy of the task of priest had to seek said priest to make intercession for them. God was a mystery to the ďcommonĒ man. Back then they may have thought that He was hiding behind the thick curtains. But what they failed to realize was that the veil was for OUR protection, not His! Who among us can stand before a Holy God without being cleansed first?
Year after year, century after century, the practice of sacrifice was the only way to forgiveness. We are a stiff necked people. We want what we want, our pride tends to rule our hearts. It was easy to see that the blood of animals was not enough. It had to be shed so often that it was soon taken for granted. There were times when the purest of animals were not even used. Times when even the priest lined their pockets with the spoils of the sins of others.
How he must have grieved over His creations.
They would look down their collective noses at His statutes and figured that they were doing what He had commanded because they followed tradition. Their fatherís fatherís father did it this way so why change it!
The prophet Malachi warned them of their thievery but they refused to listen.
Jeremiah told them to change their ways and they imprisoned him.
Isaiah was cut into two for daring to bring hope of a redeemer to the people. The Word contains volumes of examples of disobedience. Yet, they still brought their sacrifices, and they stilled sinned. Eventually, God stopped speaking to them. For four hundred some odd years there was no revelation, no prophetic utterances. Just silence.
Only the Almighty knew what was going on in heaven during that time. Many have tried to speculate. I am not that ambitious.
Love was going to take the form of a fragile human. To experience all the joy and pain. To show us that it is possible to live Holy. He would be sinless. Keeping every Law yet providing redemption for those that could not.
What we do know is that one day the archangel spoke to a young girl. He told her of a gift. A magnificent gift that would soon be trusted to her to nurture.
His name would be Jesus and he was to be the final, the complete, the purest sacrifice for all time. We know that she was visited by the Holy Spirit of God and His seed was planted. The blood that pumped through the childís veins was the purest of the pure. His Fatherís blood!
It was this blood that thirty three years later would stain the cobblestones on the road to Calvary. It is this blood that washes us today. That protects us. That separates us from sin, and seals us for eternity.
Why else would we call it precious.
When He finally gave up the ghost the thick curtain, that for so many centuries separated man from Godís presence, was ripped into two ending one era and ushering in another...GRACE!
No longer did the priest have the honor of coming before Our Father on our behalf. God was telling us that WE could now come to Him on our own.
Love is personal to each individual. His love is still the greatest gift that any of us could ever receive. Jesus explains this in one sentence. It is one of the only verses in the Bible that never has to be interpreted, or refined. It is so simple in itís phrasing. Yet the more we ponder it, the more complex it becomes. It brings comfort. And it is always offensive to those who refuse to turn from their lifestyles, yet it includes even them!
ďFor God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son;
that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.Ē
St. John 3:16 (KJV)
During Christmas and our birthdays, we all expect to receive some sought of trinket, or gift from those that we love and who love us. But I exhort you my brothers, my sisters, to remember the Gift that none of us asked for but was given to us freely because He loves us! Remember the reason why you are called Christian. Remember whose name you carry. Let Him be your motivation for every decent and loving act that you do. This is a gift that we can all share, and one that we should.