There is an old illustration from mathematics that goes like this: “The wider the diameter of light, the greater the circumference of darkness.” The more a person knows about something, the more they discover just how much they do not know about it. I once sat down with a woman who was an international expert in her field of study. Using her hands to show a very small space, she said, “this is how much we know.” Then spreading her arms wide, she said, “this is how much we don’t know.” She knew more than anyone else about her field of study. Yet, more profoundly, she knew more than anyone else just how much we did not know about it. This is true of Christ’s love, as well.
The Apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesian Christians would “be able…to know the surpassing knowledge of Christ’s love (Ephesians 3:18-19).” The prayer is paradoxical, because Paul prays that they would conceive something that is inconceivable.
Occasionally, you hear stories of great heroes. In Chris Kyle’s biography, American Sniper, he tells the story of Mike Monsoor. Monsoor’s platoon was being attacked in Ramadi, when a grenade hit Monsoor in the chest and bounced to the floor. Monsoor leapt up and yelled, “grenade!” to alert his fellow soldiers. Monsoor saw that is was impossible for his fellow soldiers to evacuate safety in time. So, without hesitation, he threw himself on the grenade, smothering it to protect his fellow soldiers and mortally wounding himself. His action is even more heroic, because, he, of all of them, had the greatest chance of escaping the blast. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.
As amazing as stories like these are – and they are amazing – none can compare to the sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (see John 15:13 and Romans 5:7-8). For the greatest, most awesome, most holy being to condescend and become human like us is unfathomable. For him to die on the cross because of our own fault is mind-blowing. Even more, this love did not just exist for a moment at Calvary. It was always there, always present, and always part of the plan.
The more we contemplate Christ’s amazing love, the more inconceivable it seems to be. Do you know that love? Take some time to ask God to give you the power to know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge.