In order to describe my favorite thing about Jesus, I have to start with some thoughts about God the Father.
My favorite contemporary Christian song is “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan, most famously sung by The David Crowder Band. For me, these stanzas are a great summary of how completely God loves us: He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. And we are His portion and He is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, if his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
God created us because He is love (1Jn 4-8), and love needs an object. God wants us to love Him in return, but free-willingly. By giving us the freedom to choose to love Him, the Creator knew from the beginning that we might be sinners. He knew from the very beginning that we might take the enemy’s bait in Eden, but He wanted us to love Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds (Mt 22:37-40).
Just like a dad, God grieved over our continued disobedience and lack of understanding. So we’re getting to my favorite thing about Jesus. God the Father loves us so much that He knew from the very beginning that He would have to save us (1Pet 2:18-21, Eph 1:3-10). And if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself. So He came directly to us, not in the blazing and mysterious form of what we would expect of the Creator of the Universe, but as one of us.
He came to us this way because He knew that we could never really “get” Him and love Him on our own. Along with God the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22), He had to teach us how to love and we would have been too overwhelmed by the God of the burning bush to pay attention. Even His best friends fell flat on their faces when they saw the transfigured Christ (Mt 17:6). Like a loving dad, He taught us through example. He taught us to rely on Him and to feed His sheep when He multiplied and divided the loaves and fishes and distributed them to His disciples to share (Mt 14:13-21). He taught us to care for the poor by embracing people barehanded that others avoided like the literal plague (Mt 8:1-3) – just like a dad holding close his reeking child who’s just been sick all over and placing her gently in the bath. He gave us a pattern for prayer (Mt 6:9-13) and gave us rest from the burden of sin and the corruption that the law had become (Mt 11:28-30). He taught us that He would do anything righteous for us, including suffering the ultimate in humiliation, pain and death (Jn 19:1-16) – moreover, he suffered that pain both as the victim and as the victim’s father. He allowed his heel to be stricken, but through that painful snakebite, He crushed the enemy’s head and saved us once and for all (Gen 3:15, 1Cor 15:54-57, 1Jn 3:8). He took upon Himself the sin of the world and left us sinking in an ocean of grace (2Cor 5:21). We were reminded in the Adult Sunday School’s study of John that eternity with Him starts the moment we first believe (Jn 17:3). Whether we feel it or not, we experience Him intimately every time we serve and receive Communion, baptize and teach our babies, feed ourselves with The Word, care for His sheep, worship and pray. We no longer walk with Him in perfection, but we certainly walk with Him in amazing grace.
My favorite thing about Jesus is that He is God, and oh, how He loves us, oh.