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Sacrificial Love

February 16, 2012

The impetus and thus power of the cross of Christ is the love of God. Tim Keller in his book The King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, makes the point that “all life-changing love is substitutionary.”  Christ as our substitute is the summation of God’s love for us. Christ died not “despite God’s love; he had to die because of God’s love.”

To illustrate this point, Keller pulls from, of all places, Harry Potter.  He writes:

Remember Lily Potter, the mother of Harry Potter? In the first book of the series, the evil Lord Voldemort tries to kill Harry, but he can’t touch him. When the Voldemort-possessed villain tries to lay hands on Harry, he experiences agonizing pain, and so he is thwarted. Harry later goes to Dumbledore, his mentor, and asks, “Why couldn’t he touch me?” Dumblemore replies that “Your mother died to save you…love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. No scar, no visible sign…[but] to have been loved so deeply…will give us protection forever.” Why is Dumbledore’s statement so moving? Because we know from experience, from the mundane to the dramatic, that sacrifice is at the heart of real love….

Therefore it makes sense that a God who is more loving than you and I, a God who comes into the world to deal with the ultimate evil, the ultimate sin, would have to make a substitutionary sacrifice….The cross is the self-substitution of God.

As the song says,

They hung him high;

they stretched him wide;

He hung his head;

for me he died.  

That’s love!

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