An Ardent Love

Good Friday is almost here. Many of us will be holding special services on Friday celebrating the awful and beautiful death of Jesus. Traditionally people read from the Gospels, telling the story of all that led up to the crucifixion. But when we do this it is important that we also exalt the meaning of these historic events, what his death eternally accomplishes, and how all people should respond. This morning I was reading one of David Clarkson's sermons on the death of Jesus, "Christ's Dying For Sinners." He spends a lot of time explaining the nature and meaning of the death of Jesus. Afterwards, he focuses on the death of Jesus as the greatest demonstration of his love for sinners, and how the Father's and Jesus' love for us should result in our love for him (1 Jn. 4:19). Today, let Clarkson help you consider Jesus' ardent (passionate) love for the unlovely - that's you and me.

Such was his love to us, a love strong as death. Death itself could not give any check to it, he would love us through he died for it. Many waters could not quench it, the sorrows of death could not extinguish it, nor any floods or sufferings abate the fervour of it, though all the waves and billows thereof went over him, and seemed to overwhelm him. Oh, can we be content, that our love to Christ should be weak and remiss? No; let us have such an affection for other things, the things of the world; let us love them as though we loved them not. But let us not so deal with him who loved us so as to die for us. Let it be a greater shame and affliction to us, that we have so little love for Christ, than that we have little worldly wisdom, little wealth, little power, little interest, little respect, or little of any thing that men naturally desire. Let little in any thing be more tolerable to us, than little affection to Christ... Kindle this love by all means. And that it may kindle effectually, bring it to the flame, lay your hearts under the serious consideration of this love of Christ; if this will not influence them, they are hearts of stone.

He loved you more than he did the sinning angels; they tasted not of redeeming love, this runs out in full streams to sinful men.

He loved you more than that which is dearest to you, and which naturally is most loved. He loved you more than riches (2 Cor. 8:9), more than honour and repute (Phil. 2:7), exposed himself to scorn, reproach and shame.

More than the comforts of life: he became a man of sorrows, and lived a life of sorrows, afflictions, and sufferings.

More than his own blood (Rev. 1:5).

More than his life: he "counted not his life dear," but laid it down as the price of your redemption (Mt. 20:28).

More than blessedness: would be made a curse (Gal. 3:13).

More than his own body: he gave up that to be scourged, pierced, wounded, crucified, hanged on a tree.

More than his soul (Is. 53:10).

More than himself (Gal. 2:20; 1 Tim. 2:6). When he had no greater thing to give, he gave himself.

After all this, shall any thing, any person whatever be loved more than Christ, or equally with him?