Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness (Learn More). Godlessness sucks. We were in trouble. We needed help. So the Son of God dove into godlessness after us to rescue us. He did not delegate the job to his subordinates. He did not send his flunkies. Rescuing us was so important to God that the Son of God did the job himself. None shall perish because our rescuer is the God who loves us. God does not fail. God does not come up short. God does not miss the mark. The only people not rescued are the fools who refuse to be rescued - those who tell God to bugger off.
The purpose of the visit he paid us for approximately thirty-three years at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago was apocalypse - revelation. He wanted to enlighten us about himself. He wanted to give us insight into the nature of God. He paid us a visit to reveal to us the nature of God. The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and the Son of God stepped out from behind the veil to show us the nature of God (Matthew 27:51). On the canvas of Calvary and in the pigment of suffering, the Son of God painted a self-portrait of the nature of God. The fidelity of the self-portrait exceeds the fidelity of all other representations of the nature of God made by human hands. Compared to the high fidelity representation of the nature of God that the Son of God himself painted for us at Calvary, all other representations are children's scribbling. Furthermore, the revelation is not carried by the words that Jesus said. The revelation is carried on the shoulders of a sequence of historical facts that happened to him. It was a wordless revelation (more or less).
What did the Son of God reveal in the revelation?
He revealed the sweetness of paradise. The revelation made by the Son of God during his visit shattered the illusion conjured up by the serpent that camouflaged the sweetness of paradise from us.
Why did the Son of God reveal the sweetness of paradise?
Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It would be crazy to do otherwise. The sweetness of paradise is the engine that produces the force that pulls the children of Adam and Eve to the gates of paradise. It is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. (Note: the sourness of godlessness is the force that pushes the children of Adam and Eve to the exits of godlessness).
What is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet?
The indestructible and monumental love of God for us is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet.
The revelation consists of three parts. The content of each of the three parts can be given a name:
- the prefix
- the suffix and
- the connection between the prefix and suffix.
Each of the three parts carries meaning. The prefix carries meaning. The suffix carries meaning. The connection between the prefix and the suffix carries meaning.
If you omit any of the three parts, you distort the revelation. Accuracy, therefore, requires that we articulate all three parts of the revelation.
Everyone is aware of the prefix of the revelation. The prefix of the revelation is the boiling cauldron of pain and suffering into which we baptized him. It is the sharp hook of salvation onto which we impaled him with the same insouciance with which the fisherman impales a live worm on a sharp hook. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died.
His death ought to have been the end. It ought to have been all she wrote - the final chapter - the end of the road. It was over. Finished. Done. Quite remarkably, however, death was not the end. There was more to the story. The story did not stop at death. Something emerged from the boiling cauldron of pain and suffering into which we baptized him.
He died, yet, he did not stay dead. He emerged. He emerged alive from the boiling cauldron of pain and suffering.
But that is not all that emerged.
The evil baptism into which we immersed him (Matthew 3:13-17) ought to have, at the very least, pissed him off. It ought to have triggered his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. It ought to have transformed him into the God who hates us. But it did not. He emerged with his heart still filled to the brim with love for us. Not a drop of his love for us had spilled.
The normal pattern of cause and effect ought to have held true. Our wickedness toward him ought to have produced a God who hates us. We lit the fuse of the bomb. The bomb ought to have exploded. However, it did not. The bomb was a dud. God refused to explode. Thanks be to God (Isaiah 55:8-9).
The emergence of Jesus alive and still in love with us is the suffix of the message. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us.
This is a most unusual byproduct. Ordinarily, the prefix and suffix do not exist together. The combination is so rare that it is quite possibly unique. Like a unicorn, the combination is not found in nature. It is a supernatural combination - alien to humanity - foreign to us. It is akin to finding, in the same compound, fire and water, matter and anti-matter, hot and cold, fat and skinny, left and right, inside and outside, or up and down. It is extraordinary because, in nature, the first component extinguishes the second component - annihilates it completely - obliterates it - wipes it out. That the prefix and the suffix existed together in Jesus makes Jesus unique.
Between the evil we did to him and his love for us is a firewall. The firewall is God's refusal to let our evil control the dial that regulates his love for us. The dial is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. We do not have any power over it. It is beyond our reach.
By making the connection between the evil baptism into which we immersed him and his love for us, God showed us the magnitude and indestructibility of his love for us. He paid the cost of our salvation not from His limitless divine resources. He paid the cost from His limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for Himself. He has never paid more for anything else. The exorbitant price he paid for our salvation is the best evidence of our exorbitant value to him (John 15:13). Moreover, if torturing and killing him did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree, nothing we do to him can or will. His love for us is humongous and indestructible.
Therefore, never just say God loves us. It is a true statement but it is also incomplete. Its incompleteness makes the statement an inaccurate representation of the revelation. The statement, 'God loves us' is the revelation without the prefix and without the connection.
Here is the compete revelation:
Behold how easy it is to squeeze the complete revelation into a small space! Twenty-two (22) words hold the crux of Christianity. Contemplate the twenty-two (22) words - the prefix, the suffix and the connection - to gain insight into the nature of God.