Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. ... In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:7, 10
Continuing with our "favorite verses" Monday devotion 1 John 4 has to be at the top of the list. It says things so straightforwardly, right to the point, doesn't it? So, don't just skip over the first word of this Bible verse.
Reread it. Don't move on. Stay there. It's short. You can memorize it instantaneously. You can repeat it. You can tell it to others.
Let this word be with you today, tonight, even into tomorrow, and after that. What's the word? Ready? Here it comes:
Yes, God's saying that to you in Jesus. You. You are beloved. You were created to be loved. He designed you to be the object of His love. He makes no demands on you to deserve that kind of love. He does not proportion His love based on who you are or what you do with His love. He loves you. The Creator of all things, the God of all eternity, the Almighty God -- loves you, beloved.
Beloved, loved ones of God in Jesus, this is no philosophical notion, no ephemeral teaching. This is no pie-in-the-sky lesson of an idyllic premise. God's love is real. It is God at work for you in Jesus who makes this love possible. That's God's love. It is a love that is for flesh-and-blood people with real world problems. It is a love that conquers sin and, therefore, can deal with your sin. It is a love that doesn't pretend, but calls a thing what it is. This love serves. This love saves.
It was February, 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism.
Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts.
Names were called. A Polish Jew, Frandishek Gasovnachek, was called. He cried, "Wait, I have a wife and children!"
Kolbe stepped forward and said, "I will take his place."
Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14, 1941.
This story was chronicled on an NBC news special several years ago. Gasovnachek, by this time 82, was shown telling this story while tears were streaming down his cheeks. A mobile camera followed him around his little white house to a marble monument, carefully tended with flowers.
The inscription read IN MEMORY OF MAXIMILIAN KOLBE. HE DIED IN MY PLACE.
Every day Gasovnachek lived since 1941, he lived with the knowledge, "I live because someone died for me." Every year on August 14 he travels to Auschwitz in memory of Kolbe.
(Jesus said) "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Well, that's just a glimpse of the love you have in Jesus, my beloved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, help us to know and trust in the incredible love that we have in the person and work of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus. Let that motivate us in all that we say and in all that we do. Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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