The church is fond of teaching, “Christ would have given his life for you, even if you were the only one.” It always makes me uncomfortable to hear that. I know that God so loved… the WORLD, but would he really have died just for me?
It’s unimaginably tragic and heroic that he did it to save trillions upon trillions of people, but to think of him doing it for just me feels scandalously unjust, and I am reluctant to permit myself that much significance to the event.
During communion time in church when we pause and reflect on Christ’s sacrifice, I approach him sheepishly in prayer, telling him how sorry I am for what he endured. And I think about the pain God experienced seeing his beloved and perfect Son hanging bloody and battered on a cross. And I try to tell Him… I’m so sorry.
Those words feel so shallow against the depth of the sacrifice that was made. It’s incomprehensible that he would have done it for selfish, sinful, unremarkable me. I’m not worth it. There’s nothing about me that makes me worth it.
I remember when my daughter took her first communion. It was a very poignant moment for me to see her take the bread and the cup from the tray and bow her head.
I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and relief that Christ’s death on the cross meant her eternal salvation. This time, I didn’t approach sheepishly. This time I gushed. “She’s worth it!” “SHE’S… WORTH it!”
I would die for her in an instant–without question, without hesitation. Not because of anything she does or doesn’t do. Her value to me has nothing at all to do with her behavior. I would die for her simply because of who she is and what she means to me. Because of everything that makes her so preciously, wonderfully… her. Because there is no other like her. Because she is the only one of her and that makes her irreplaceable and her value incalculable. Because my love for her cannot be measured. Because I delight in her. Because I treasure her so deeply and am so fiercely protective of her, I would resolutely give my life in her place. She’s worth it.
She’s worth it to me, and I’m so inexpressibly grateful that she was worth it to him.
Somehow, in some unfathomable way, God feels the same way about me. In spite of my wretchedness, in spite of my inability–and in truth unwillingness–to live a sinless life, My Father loves me. He loves me. He wants me. He died for me.
And that is the essence of grace.
He thinks I’m worth it.
And He thinks you are too.