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One of the more popular stories, written by William Shakespeare is ‘Romeo and Juliet’. In this widely read story, Romeo and Juliet loved one another, but their families did not approve of their relationship; in their effort to bypass this obstacle and prove the strength of their love for each other, they died tragically.
When I first read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as a child, I thought it was quite frankly a foolish story. I had no idea about how much a person would sacrifice for the other person they truly love. As an adult, the story no longer seems foolish, I now admire how well Shakespeare writes about love. The cruel death of Jesus on the cross during this time of the year, 2000 years ago, was a sacrifice of self for the sake of love.
The Bible teaches that there are three powers in our world – God, humanity, and Satan (God’s adversary). Humanity was created to occupy and govern the earth in partnership with God. When Adam and Eve chose independence over partnership with God, a contest to win over humanity to God’s side or to Satan’s side began. God entered the contest because like a parent, God loves humanity very deeply.
We are shown this contest in the book of Job 1:6-13 (Living Bible) (shortened): One day as the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan, the Accuser, came with them… Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth… who fears God and will have nothing to do with evil.” “Why shouldn’t he when you pay him so well?” Satan scoffed. “You have always protected him and his home and his property…. take away his wealth, and you’ll see him curse you…” And the Lord replied to Satan, “You may do anything you like with his wealth, but don’t harm him physically.”
It is as a result of this contest that Jesus came to earth; he went about doing good to show that God is good; he went about doing good right up to the point of death; while he was on the cruel cross, he forgave a thief, and asked for forgiveness for those crucifying him in Luke 23:34 (Living Bible): “Father, forgive these people,” Jesus said, “for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross to prove how much God loves humanity. Does Satan love humanity that deeply? Jesus says in John 15:13 (Living Bible): “And here is how to measure it [love] – the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends”. This is why we celebrate the cross at Easter – it is the indisputable evidence that God deeply loves you and I.
Lord, we thank you for your great love; we choose you over the adversary; protect us, our homes, and our property, in Jesus name, Amen!