"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." —Galatians 2:20
I love the well-known words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world….” It makes the love of God sound so far-sweeping, so big, so… world-sized. Yet Jesus did not generally die for the general sins of the whole world-at-large. The early witnesses who suffered most for being Christians were captivated by the fact that Christ “loved me and gave himself for me.” They took the act of Christ's sacrifice very personally. And so should we. Jesus died specifically for your sins and mine. This is why I love Galatians 2:20. Jesus doesn’t wave his hand over the entire earth, brush-stroking everyone with his love. Rather, he “loved me and gave himself for me.”
This is the way we should look at the sufferings and death of Christ. They have to do with me. The stripes on Christ's back are about his love for me personally. It is my sin that cuts me off from God, not sin in general. It is my spiritual laziness that demeans the worth of Christ. And it is I as an individual who must plead for mercy. This is why I take great relief and delight in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” Is it possible that I can be one of his “friends?” Yes, I am his friend. Jesus paid the highest price possible to give me the greatest gift possible. Oh, joy! Jesus loves even me… and he calls me his friend!
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” You, as an individual, are part of the church. Allow your heart to be enthralled by the beauty of Christ's love for one single, solitary you.
My heart is yours, Savior, and I am overwhelmed by your great love for me.