Have you ever been to an awkward wedding?
Recently I heard a story of a man who, despite his deep social anxiety, decided to write and memorize his own wedding vows. Unfortunately, the wedding was held in front of a very large group of people. Things went as expected—horribly! Cringe-worthy doesn’t begin to describe it. But after stumbling and fumbling with his words for what seemed like an eternity, he ditched what he’d memorized and began to speak off the top of his head and from the bottom of his heart. Because he was so nervous, he forced himself to stare deep into the eyes of his new bride,. His stare wasn’t romantic—it was desperate. In short and intense bursts, he professed his love for her. And his vows culminated with one sentence that got right to the point:
“I will never divorce you.”
That kind of love is powerful. Do you think God loves you like that?
On the night before his death, Jesus was all too aware of what torment he would undergo at the hands of evil men. More terrifyingly, though, he knew the suffering the Father would lay on him as the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. So it’s no wonder that he “was troubled in spirit” (John 13:21).
But the terror of the coming day didn’t dissuade the Lord Jesus from his plan. His love for us brought him into the world; his love for us sustained him in the world; and his love for us saw him through to the cross and the grave. As his beloved disciple John put it decades later, Jesus’ last night on earth shows the essence of his true feelings toward us: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love” (NIV). Or, as most other translations read, “he loved them to the end.”
Will Jesus stop loving you because of your deep discontentment over your job situation?
Will Jesus stop loving you because you know better than to do what you’re doing anyway?
Will Jesus stop loving you because your physical and mental weakness keep you from being productive (whatever you think that means)?
This brings us to one of the most important things for Christians to remember—and the more people I serve in pastoral ministry, the more people I think need to hear this—is that Jesus will not give up on you. Even if you are sick of yourself, he isn’t sick of you. And you don’t have to lean on wishes and empty hope. The cross, which actually happened whether we feel like it or not, shows that Jesus saw his love for us through to the bitter end. His love for us doesn’t depend on our fears or doubts—it never did.
The cross shows us something else, too. It proves that sin and abandonment and denial couldn’t end Jesus’ love for his people. It shows that love really is stronger than death. The cross reveals to us that there really is a God, and that he really doesn’t divorce those he’s committed to—even if it means he has to die for us. You can—you must—follow this Jesus, who will never leave or forsake you (Matthew 28:20), though he was forsaken for us (Mark 15:34).
This Easter, may you realize that Jesus, the Bridegroom of his church, will see you through to the end.