For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…

The measure of love is the value of the gift given. That seems so obvious as to go without saying. If someone loves another person, then no expense will be spared to give them what they desire.

Love that doesn’t give can hardly be called love. Love that takes rather than gives is not love at all, but self-interest, selfishness. Call it what you will; it’s certainly not love. The nature of love is to give.

If that is true, then, does it also mean that the rich man who buys his wife a $300,000 Mercedes love his wife more than the poor man who buys his wife a $3 block of chocolate? If that’s how love is measured, then the rich man must be more loving.

But is he really? Can we really measure love like that?

As a matter of fact, we can. But the measuring stick we must use is not one of material goods. There is a measuring stick that reveals the true value of love. But it’s heartbreakingly painful way to measure love.

Any parent can imagine the pain of losing a child. Tragically, some parents know first-hand that pain. What if the child you are about to lose is one that you’ve waited 100 years to have?

That’s what Abraham faced when God called him to take his son, his only son, whom he loved, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on Mt Moriah [see Gen 22:1-10].

Abraham and Isaac journeyed 3 days to the place of sacrifice. Then Abraham bound Isaac and laid him on the firewood.

I can’t imagine what pain Abraham felt in his heart at that time. But I wonder what was going through Isaac’s mind? And what seems so strange, is that there isn’t the slightest hint that Isaac resisted his father. It looks like Isaac went willingly to his pending death. How odd.

But maybe it’s not so odd when we understant the reason this story is in the Bible in the first place. It’s there to make us think of another who went willing to his death; this time for our benefit.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His Son…” John tells us in John 3:16. This Son is the same one about whom God said “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” [Matt 3:17].

It is the same Son who created the universe, and who created us. “For by [this Son] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…” [Col 1:16].

He is before all things, above all things. He is preeminent. In Him, all the fullness of God dwells [see Col 1:18-19].

What value would you place on Him? He is infinite in every way. And infinite is the value of the gift of the Father when He gave His Son, His only Son, whom He also loved.

Truly, the measure of love is the value of the gift given. And the most precious gift in the universe was given on our behalf.

When Abraham lifted the knife to plunge it into his son, God called out to him to stop him. And God provided a ram for him to sacrifice instead. God provided a substitute.

That’s what the cross is all about. It’s about a substitute who went willingly to a brutal death on a cross. He went to pay the penalty of death that was due to us for our sin and rebellion against God.

The only perfect and sinless person who has ever lived bore the punishment that was due to us. He did it so that we might be forgiven our sin, and reconciled to God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” [John 3:16]. The love of the Father for us did everything necessary for us to receive eternal life.

All that is left for us to do, is to believe. Have you done that? Will you do that now?

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