Not long ago I heard a knock, knock on our door. Spying through the blinds I saw two dressed up ladies. In their hands they held a single book along with some pamphlets.
I think you know where this is going…
I opened the door and greeted them, “Hi. I’m Heath. Nice to meet you.”
They proceeded to explain who they were and why they were there. But I cut right to the chase,
“Is it true you don’t believe Jesus was actually God? That He was just God’s son and only a good teacher?”
“Yes that is right,” they answered.
Instead of diving into theological mumbo jumbo I decided to go a different route this time.
I asked them if they liked love stories and they gave me a couple of their favorites.
“Which is a better love story,” I asked, “One where the prince sends someone else to rescue the princess for him OR where the prince himself risks his life and comes and rescues the princess?”
Knowing my point, they hesitated and then answered the latter.
Friends, isn’t the Bible the greatest love story of all time? Isn’t it about a Prince who didn’t make someone else do the dirty work, but took it upon Himself to rescue His bride?
Author Donald Miller defines what makes a good story. It involves “a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.”
In the greatest love story ever told we find the main character, God, wanting something and overcoming conflict to get it. What did He want? A relationship with us. He wanted our hearts.
So He was on a mission. He was on the move. It was “game on.” He would stop at nothing to get what He wanted. He was madly in love.
For over 2,000 years God pursued His people. He tried to get their attention in all kinds of ways. He created a beautiful garden. He painted a rainbow in the sky. He took them stargazing and promised and provided a big family in a new home in a new land.
He got their attention in a burning bush. He heard their cries for help and He played hero and rescued them from their enemies. He parted a body of water 190 miles across and 7,000 feet deep so His people could escape the enemy.
He made it rain bread and quail from Heaven. He provided water from a rock. Ultimately, He guided them into a better land. One flowing with milk and honey.
He continued to protect His people from the enemy year after year after year. He never left them.
Why? Because He loved them. He wanted them to know Him. He wanted them to love Him. He couldn’t stop thinking about them. He was head over heels for them. So He pursued and pursued and pursued and pursued.
But like any good story, there was conflict. What was it? Well, the people said ‘No.’ They wouldn’t give Him their hearts. He moved towards them but they turned their backs on Him.
They rejected Him. They were seeing other gods. And the one and only true God, the passionate, jealous lover, who had romanced and courted His people for thousands of years, was heart broken:
“Will they ever remember me? Will they take notice of me? Will they see my love for them is real? That I would do anything for them? What can I do to break through to them? Haven’t I tried everything?”
His heart was heavy. Tears streamed down His cheeks. There was one more thing He could do. But He never thought it would come to this. It was the last resort. Despite all the rejection, all the empty commitments from His people, He still loved them. And He wasn’t ready to give up.
So, the time came. In Matthew 1:23 we read, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).”
He didn’t send a letter or an email or flowers or a billboard or a t-shirt.
Instead, He came. He sent Himself. You mean the God of the universe? Yes, that one.
God. With. Us. Three words that can change our life.
He came to walk with us. To hold our hand. To talk to us. To listen to us. To pray with us. To guide us. To protect us. To encourage us. To give us a hug when we need one. To pick us up when we fall. To comfort us when we cry. To celebrate when we celebrate.
Now that is a love story.
And He didn’t just come to live with us. He came to die for us.
Spat on. Mocked. Beaten. Bleeding. Why?
Because He was in love with us. He was a character who wanted something (our hearts) and was willing to overcome great conflict (our sins) to get it.
It’s almost like God stooped down like a humble servant. Like He got down on one knee. In the dirt. He made Himself nothing. He emptied Himself.
He reached into His pocket and presented something very precious. Something of extraordinary cost. With His arms outstretched, he offered His life.
Maybe the cross is God’s way of asking, “Will you marry me?”
And there we are. Maybe caught off guard. Surprised. Humbled. Speechless.
And we wonder, “He wants me? Doesn’t He know me? But He loves me? He chooses me of all people?”
Friends, our God is proposing to you. To me.
He is on our front step knocking on the door of our lives, ready to come in.
May we open the door and receive His gift.
And may we spend the rest of our life with our hero, the Prince.