“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” opens a famous 18th century hymn written by Charles Wesley. It is a sentiment that permeates much of modern thinking about Jesus, and yes, even some Christian thinking. “Loving Jesus, gentle Lamb” he also wrote in the hymn.
It is the idea of a soft, almost cuddly, Jesus, who would never dare to upset anyone, to challenge anyone, or to disagree with anyone, lest they be hurt and offended.
Of course, He is a God of love, so He is always careful not to offend. Isn’t He??
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” [Gen 3:6-10]
Whatever made Adam think he could hide from God? Surely he knew God well enough to know that there is no hiding from Him. Continue reading
“How much does Nana love you?”, Mel will ask our grandchildren. “I love you thiiiiis much!” she says , stretching her arms out as wide as she can. The words are a delight to hear, and the grandchildren soon learn that a Nana’s love seemingly knows no bounds.
This week, we began to look at John 3:16, probably the most famous verse in the Bible. And it starts off, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…”
This verse is beloved of Christians the world over, for very good reason. It speaks to us of a love that also knows no bounds. And believers are the recipients of that love.
But what makes this love strange, difficult to comprehend, is that no one seems to deserve it. For the Bible tells us – and we all know from bitter personal experience – that we are far from lovely or lovable.
In fact, both the Bible and experience tells us that we are sinners who are unable to do good; unable to please God in anything we do.
Which makes God’s love even more strange, even more remarkable, even more… unexpected. Continue reading