The way that reads gets close to my usual understanding of the verse—to me it's always been all about celebrating the giving of Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for my sin, the Savior of my soul, the initiator of my new life as a reborn-in-spirit person destined now for eternity in heaven.
I suspect that the essence of the true story of the birth and death of the Son of God is wrapped up in those two words: God loved. The all-sufficient Creator of the vast expanses of universe and the tiniest quark and everything in between needed nothing. He wanted for nothing. And if He had wanted anything, He could merely breathe or speak it into existence. That, in fact, is exactly what He did when He wanted to express His vast store of creativity.
And yet, because His heart beats with kindness, with compassion, with unmerited mercy, with amazing grace, with longing, with love for the helpless beings He created in His own image—because of all that, He did something about our condition—He gave Himself away to be subjected to unspeakable torture. But again, the giving away isn’t the big story here—it’s all about that amazing God-love that was behind the scenes of the giving. Fueling and motivating and underwriting it.
Getting up before dawn to make breakfast and shuttle Dad off to his blood test--done in love. Spending the day in the waiting room with Mom preparing for her surgery—all about love. Advocating for them both--because of love. Interpreting confusing documents—even that's with love. Giving shots. Ordering meds. Just sitting and listening to whatever is most important to them—maybe the most love-gesture of all.
© 2011, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Scriptures quoted from ESV unless otherwise indicated.