The Greatest Love Story

I was flipping through channels on the TV (I do watch it sometimes) and caught the end of the movie “Stargate.”  It is an older movie about people who travel through a portal to other worlds in search of answers about pyramids and Egyptians and all that stuff.  Anyway there is a character named Dr. Daniel Jackson.  He is the nerdy linguist that is supposed to translate between his team and the people of these other worlds.  So he isn’t the cool one.  He is one of those outsiders, not popular kind of characters.  You know the type.  At the end of their adventure to this other world he falls in love with one of the beautiful women of this planet.  Hold on, I am getting to the point.  It is time to leave and the team is ready to go back home through the portal.  Dr. Jackson decides to stay back with his new-found love.  OK enough backdrop.

What hit me was a barrage of questions.  Why doesn’t he take her with him?  What is he supposed to do about the people he knows and maybe even family he has on Earth?  How will he live on this new planet?  How will he feed himself?  Where will they live…?  Then I saw it clearly.  I know it is just a movie and fiction and all that, but I saw something…love.  I saw overwhelming love that doesn’t worry about all that stuff.  I saw love that gives unconditionally.  I saw love that sacrifices.  I saw love that gives up everything to stay with the one they love.  I saw a love that completely leaves the past behind.  Just a movie, yes, but an awesome moment.  I think it was God speaking to my heart.  That wasn’t the greatest love story.

Then I thought, what is the greatest love story?  You know R&J.  that one is pretty good.  They leave their families, their backgrounds, their legacies, their traditions, everything they know to be safe and familiar to be with each other.  Of course it has a tragic ending.  I actually like the West Side Story version.  The music is really good.  But that isn’t the greatest love story.

You can probably think of a bunch of love stories.  Maybe you have one yourself.  I know when I met my wife I would do anything for her attention.  I would do anything to impress her.  I would do stuff that should have been embarrassing, but I didn’t care.  When my girls were born I was struck with love.  Here was the most amazing creation in my arms.  I would still jump in front of a bullet for them.  I would climb mount Everest for them, any and all of them.  I love them very much.  But that isn’t the greatest love story.

I saw the movie “Son of God” last night.  It is so good.  I recommend everyone see it.  Maybe it was just God moving in my heart but I was so touched by so many scenes.  Jesus calls Peter to change the world.  Come on!  Jesus forgives the paralytic’s sins, clashes with the Pharisees and then heals him.  Really!?  Jesus rescues the adulterous woman and puts the religious in their place.  You have to be kidding me…  Jesus calls Matthew when everyone rejected him as a tax collector.  That one makes me cry even as I write.  There is so much more.  He works in power, authority, love, kindness, wisdom, joy, focus, vision and so much more.  All the while the religious are out to get Him.  He is a threat to them.  The religious are so stuck in law thinking they can’t see the truth standing right there.  Still Jesus forgives them all.

The crucifixion is tough to watch, as expected, but it is done so well.  His appearance after His resurrection is so moving.  His moments at the last supper was powerfully compassionate.  In the end He has a moment with John on Patmos that just blew me away…I am the Alpha and Omega!!!  The credits started to roll and I wanted to stand and cheer.  I wanted to cry out YAY GOD!  I LOVE YOU JESUS!!!  But I didn’t.  That is the rest of the story.

We went to the movie on a whim.  It wasn’t planned really we just thought it would be a good way to spend the evening.  When we got there we saw a lot of people.  We didn’t know it but a church in town had bought out two showings of the movie.  We knew some of the people so one of them walked up and gave us free tickets.  That is favor.  We walked in to a crowded theater and picked the last few seats way down front.  There was an announcement before the movie started that we should stay put after the movie for a message.

So when the movie ended and I wanted to stand up and start celebrating THE GREATEST LOVE STORY…crickets…  I should have done it anyway.  Then while the credits were rolling a man came up and gave his message.  He asked the group “after seeing this are your hearts right with God.  You need to make sure you are sure.”  He went on with more but I think you get the idea.  He turned THE GREATEST LOVE STORY into a guilt trip and fear inspired altar call.  I was devastated.  How could that happen?  How could you not jump up and cry out to God about how amazing His love is that He would do such a thing for us?  He didn’t die to make us guilty for our sin…there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.  He didn’t die so we would be afraid…perfect love has no fear of punishment.  He died to set us free.  He died so we wouldn’t have too.  He suffered so we wouldn’t have too.  He took the wrath of God so we wouldn’t have too.  He did it all WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS.  That is the good news.  The goodness of God brings people to repentance.

We need freedom from ourselves.  We need a savior.  I should have stood up and declared “how awesome is our God, who wouldn’t give their lives for such a God!!!???”  What a chicken I am.  Still how disappointing that a group of “Christians” would have such a response to THE GREATEST LOVE STORY!  He died to make us like Him, little Christ ones.  He died so we could be God’s children.  He died so He could make His home in us.  I say that is a really good story.  I say that is a real love story.  The truth is He loves us like those characters in the love stories.  He will do anything to get us.  He will do anything to prove His love.  He will even die for us and He did.

Yay God, I love you so much.  You are an amazing God!

Lance

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