1. The Love of Jesus for Us is the Key to Our Growth
What does it mean to be “rooted” in Christ? Similar to a tree, it means to be (a) anchored and (b) nourished.
2. The Love of Jesus is Bigger then We Think
“Think of Him as a babe, swaddled in His weakness. Will you not love Him who became God incarnate for you? Think of Him all through His life: a life of poverty, for He had nowhere to lay His head (Matt. 8:20); a life of rejection, for “he came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11); a life of pain, for He bore our sicknesses (Matt. 8:17); a life of dishonor, for He was despised and rejected by men (Isa. 53:3). Think of Him in the garden of Gethsemane. Will your love not be stirred as you watch the bloody sweat and hear His groans and mark His tears, as He pleads with God until He prevails? Follow Him to the judgment seat, and hear Him there charged with blasphemy, if you can bear it. Then see the soldiers, as they spit in His face and mock Him, while they thrust a reed into His hand for a scepter, and put on his brow a crown of thorns as His only diadem (crown). See Him tied up to be scourged, until the cruel thongs lacerate and tear His precious flesh and He suffers indescribable agonies. When you have followed Him so far, go further still, stand at the foot of the cross, and mark the crimson stream that flows from His hands and feet and side. Stand and watch Him when the soldier’s spear has pierced His heart and made the blood and water flow forth for your pardon and cleansing. Did He suffer all this for you, and you do not love Him in return?”— C.H. Spurgeon
How great is His love for us? “As high as the heavens are above the earth.” Consider that the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is 25,660,320,000,000 (25.66 trillion) miles away — which would take 33,000 years to reach with the fastest ship NASA has available. That is the nearest star among billions.
How far has He separated our sins from us? “As far as the East is from the West.” That is immeasurable.
God doesn’t just tell us He loves us, and ask us to take His word for it. No, He has given us evidence. He has demonstrated His love for us by giving us His Son. And His Son came in full agreement with His Father, because He also loves us. He died in a most horrible way to save us.
The ancient Jewish historian Josephus called crucifixion “the most wretched of deaths.” The ancient Roman philosopher Cicero asked that decent Roman citizens not even speak of the cross because it was too disgraceful a subject for the ears of decent people. The Jews also considered crucifixion the most horrific mode of death, as Deuteronomy 21:22-23 says: “If a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God.”
The pain of crucifixion is so horrendous that a word was invented to explain it — excruciating — which literally means “from the cross.” The pain of crucifixion is due in part to the fact that it is a prolonged and agonizing death by asphyxiation. Crucified people could hang on the cross for days, passing in an out of consciousness as their lungs struggled to breathe, while laboring under the weight of their body.
None of this was done in dignified privacy but rather in open, public places. It would be like nailing a bloodied, naked man above the front entrance to your local mall. Crowds would gather around the victims to mock them as they sweated in the sun, bled, and became incontinent from the pain that could last many days. Once dead, the victim was not given a decent burial but rather left on the cross for vultures to pick apart.
As a general rule, it was men who were crucified. Occasionally a man was crucified at eye level so that passersby could look him directly in the eye as he died and cuss him out and spit on him in mockery. In the rare event of a women’s crucifixion, she was made to face the cross. Not even such a barbarous culture was willing to watch the face of a woman in such excruciating agony.
If you want to love Jesus more, focus on how much Jesus loves you. If you don’t feel love for God, spend time dwelling on the love He has for you.
If you stand at a distance from a fire, you may complain that you “don’t feel it”. If you don’t feel God’s love, come closer to the cross.