Tuesday, February 26, 2013

God’s love for sinners is clearly seen in all he does for us.

           The story is told of a farmer who once owned a number of hens. Unfortunately one afternoon the hen house burned down. As the farmer picked through the rubble, he came across one hen lying dead near the door of the hen house. Her top feathers were singed brown from the fire and her head lay limp. When he reached to pick her up, he felt something move. The hen’s four chicks came scurrying out from beneath her. The hen’s body had saved them by shielding them from the flames even though she died in the process.
This story or illustration has been around for some time in various forms, but it serves well as an illustration of the love that our Lord has shown to us. Jesus uses much the same picture when he said, ““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under wings, but you were not willing!
Jesus had come to save all people from their sins and their consequence. The first promise had been made to Adam and Eve soon after their sin of disobedience. That promise was renewed again and again – to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and many others.
Yet, when Jesus arrived, he was rejected. Oh, there were some who believed in him. His popularity went up and down. In his home town of Nazareth, they tried to kill him. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes often sought to discredit Jesus. “He eats with sinners,” they cried. He worked with prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. More important of all, he stole the hearts of the people. The more he was praised by others, the greater their hatred.
Yet he loved him. As he looked at the very ones who would plot for his arrest and cry out for his death, Jesus wept. You can feel it in his words – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…. how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under wings, but you were not willing!”
Every soul is precious to the Lord. That includes yours and mine. He loves us all. He proved that at Calvary. There the innocent Lamb of God laid down his life for the sins of the world. There he died in our place. There he faced the wrath of his Father and endured the pains of hell. He did it out of love for us.
           What a comfort that is for us all. We need a Savior just as much as the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day. Our sinful nature is just as strong as theirs. How often haven’t we rejected the Savior much as they did? We do it when we refuse to listen to him and do our own thing. It happens when we let the activities of life squeeze time for worship and prayer out of our schedules when he tells us to ‘seek first the kingdom of God.’ We do it every time we go our way instead of walking in his. The amazing thing is that Jesus loves us. With his love he seeks to draw us back to himself over and over again. He assures of his forgiveness and love. Just as a hen, by instinct, loves her chicks, Jesus by his nature loves us. It is who he is and what he does! Thank God that is the way he is!