The Apostle John says, “We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).” I remember a scene from a movie. I cannot recall the title, nor do I recall the movie being very good. But I do remember a particular scene. The movie is about a daughter who had grown up in a loving family with every opportunity to thrive. But she gets caught up with a friend. The two girls begin sneaking out at night, causing mischief, doing drugs, and many other things that need not mentioning. The mother in the movie watches her sweet, innocent daughter transform. The daughter swaps out her bright, cheerful clothing for dark and dreary ones. Her pleasant demeanor is replaced with a combative one. Throughout the movie, the mother becomes exasperated, trying everything to get her old daughter back. The harder she tries, the more distant her daughter becomes.
Then there is the scene. Mother and daughter are in the kitchen, on opposite ends of the room, screaming at each other again. Then the mother does something unexpected. She walks over to the daughter and tries to wrap her arms around her. The daughter resists, but the mother persists. Finally, the mother wrestles her arms around her daughter for a hug, as the daughter continues to try to push her away. The mother begins to say in a whisper of a voice, “I love you, I love you, I love you,” until the daughter’s resolve weakens. Tears carve out two small rivers rolling down the daughter’s cheeks. The daughter returns her mother’s embrace, pressing the side of her face against her mother’s bosom.
The Son is wrestling a hug from us. “You can spit on me; you can mock me; you can squeeze a crown of thorns on my brow; you can pierce my hands and feet with nails and raise me up; but my arms will remain open, and I will declare, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:24).’”
When there was no reason for him to do so and every reason for him not to, God chose to love us first. Have you returned his embrace?
The sermon for this message will be posted soon.