By Randy Kilgore
When God created humans, He could have made us zombies, or He could have made us AI beings—automated intelligence beings who obeyed His every word. Instead, God created us in His image and gave us free will. Sadly, we humans have found it impossible to freely and fully obey God. Instead, we have used our free will to go our own way. Were that to continue, we humans would have faced extinction. In order to save us, one person had to live an unblemished life to conquer sin and death. Enter Jesus:
At 33, most of us are still trying to find our best way through this life, blissfully unaware of how long our lives will be. Not Jesus. If He followed God’s plan to redeem humanity, Jesus knew exactly when and how He would die, and it would be now, in His 33rd year of life. The Bible tells us He took a few of His closest disciples, men He counted as friends as well as followers, and He went off to a place called Gethsemane where He would pray and gather strength to face the horrors ahead.
But when and how mattered far less than why He would die. If He chose to die that night, it would be because He loved you, the very person reading this piece right now, so much, that He knew He had to clear a path for you to get to heaven. Eyewitnesses tell us He was so distraught that He literally sweat drops of blood, asking God to find another way if there was one that would mean He wouldn’t need to go through the horror that lay ahead. God’s heartbreaking silence that night left Jesus utterly alone with the most important decision in human history.
So. Alone that night in a garden called Gethsemane, Jesus looked down the corridors of time, watching face after eager face peering back at Him with hope-filled eyes, each one pleading for Jesus to do what only He could do. So. He answered the call; He stood up and over the next three days He endured arrest and torture and taunting and a horrible death so anyone who wished to live eternally in peace and joy could choose to do so.
In the Gospel of John, the Bible tells us two things every human should hear. First, that God loves us so much (John 3:16) that He sent Jesus—His own Son—to pay for our sins so that when we cry out to God, He can hear us. Then we also learn that Jesus’ death was sufficient to save us all if we choose to be saved. Best of all, though, is the news that Jesus did not stay dead. Not only was He powerful enough to wipe away the sins of all humankind, but He also conquered death itself.
And again, because He loves you, He tells us in John 14:6 that He is preparing a magnificent place for us to live and work and rejoice in mansions He himself is preparing. Mansions laid out where no more pain or sorrow will ever find its’ way, and where death no longer has a place.
So it’s true that God loves you.
There’s one more thing you need to know. Jesus died at 33 instead of 3 because it was important to Him that He understand how hard it is to be human. So Jesus lived and walked this earth just like us, encountering the same frustrations and temptations and grief we all see in our lives. He stood down the crowd wanting to stone an adulteress; He reached out to lepers, cheaters, the poor and downtrodden; and He even reached out to those with great wealth, all with one message: Lay aside whatever keeps you distracted so much that you can’t hear the Father’s call or feel His love. He sits in heaven reminding God about what He learned, and encouraging God to continually forgive our present failures.
Do you need love? Do you need hope? Jesus waits for you to accept what is already yours—His Love and His Hope. All you need to do is call out to Him just the way you are right now.