The Incomprehensibility of Christ's Love
I think of how vast the universe is: billions and billions of stars in our galaxy, and billions and billions of galaxies in our universe. And that’s just what we can see with our telescopes. We probably haven’t even come up with a number that can measure how many galaxies are in the universe that are beyond what we can see.
Even just looking up at the starts at night with our naked eye reminds us of how vast everything is and how great it’s Creator must be. He’s so infinitely beyond us—beyond what our tiny minds can comprehend.
In Ephesians 3:17, Paul prays “that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”
Much like the universe, Christ's love is immense. It’s immeasurable. It’s utterly beyond our ability to comprehend. And yet, Paul still prays that we’d be able to at least comprehend something of this incomprehensible love. He phrases it in a paradoxical way: that we would “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”
And the ultimate demonstration of this love is at the cross. That’s why verse 19 calls it “the love of Christ.” The cross is the clearest picture we have of God’s love. 1 John 3:16 says, “By this we know what love is, that he laid down his life for us.” And Philippians 2:6-8 describes how even though Jesus was fully God, he “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
That’s what Christ's love looks like. It’s not the shallow sentimentalism of Hollywood. It’s the self-giving, self-sacrificing love that Jesus displayed on the cross as he regarded our well-being ahead of his own.
And that love is so amazing—so incomprehensible—for three reasons.
Number one, because of who Jesus is. The blood that was spilled on the cross wasn’t ordinary blood. It was the blood of one who had never sinned. It was the blood of one who was spotless and perfect and pure. And it was also royal blood, the infinitely valuable blood of the Son of God. That’s the first thing that makes Jesus’ love so amazing: who Jesus is.
The second thing that makes his love amazing is the radical nature of Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus endured the agony, the humiliation, the shame, and the utter aloneness of the cross to pay for our sins. And not only that, but the full wrath of God the Father was poured out on him so it wouldn’t have to be poured out on us. It’s one thing to pay a speeding ticket someone; it’s another thing to endure such extreme torture and death in their place.
Finally, the third thing that makes Jesus’ love so amazing is who it was directed toward. It wasn’t directed toward lovable people. It was directed toward sinners, rebels, people in opposition to God. Romans 5:8 states that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
You know, I was trying to think of earthly illustrations of God’s love to share, and I really couldn’t find any parallels for this kind of love. I mean, we have a mother’s love for her children that’s often sacrificial, and we have a soldier’s love for his comrades that’s sacrificial at times, but I’m not sure we ever see people sacrificially loving their enemies. That’s just not something we see apart from Christ; it’s unheard of.
Just look at American politics. You don’t love your enemies. You take them down, you mock them, you demonize them, you drag their name through the mud, and you do whatever you have to do to make sure that you come out on top and they look like fools. That’s the world.
But on the cross, we see a very different picture—a picture of Jesus loving his enemies, even to the point of sacrificing himself to pay for their sins. What length, what width, what height, what depth is the love of Christ!