These emotions appear clearly in the impressive words said about the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, that “Jesus wept” (Jn 11: 35). They express deep emotions and deep kindness from the heart. The same words are repeated concerning Jerusalem that was to be destroyed. When the Lord drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “Days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you… and level you and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another.” (Lk 19: 41 – 44). Similar to the word “weep” revealing the Lord’s love for His children is the word “compassion”.
One of the most beautiful situations is that when the Lord saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion for them because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd (Mt 9: 36). Therefore He said to His disciples for their sake, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
The words of compassion are repeated relating to healing of the sick and raising of the dead: “He was moved with compassion for them and healed their sick,” “Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight…,” and He had compassion on the widow who was weeping for the death of her only son and He raised him (Mt 14: 14; 20: 34; Lk 7: 12-15)
The word “compassion” appears also in God’s dealings in the Old Testament, as in (Ps 111: 4; 145: 8) : “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” Nehemia also said about the Lord that He is “Gracious and merciful, slow to anger…” (Neh 9: 17,31)
God in His love calls us by our names.
He says, “I know My sheep, and am known by My own,” and says, “the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (Jn 10) It is good that God knows everyone by his name, and He says, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Lk 10: 20) Moreover, in the Book of Numbers God counts His children and writes down their names, and in the First Book of the Chronicles God writes down the tribes and their descendants by their names (1 Chr 1: 1-9) No one is absent from God’s sight, and if any one is absent He seeks him and lay him on His shoulders, rejoicing (Lk 15: 5).
God in His love made us one with Himself.
He says, “Abide in Me, and I in you,” “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You,” “I in them, and you in Me; that they may be made perfect in one.” (Jn 15:4 ; 17: 21, 23)
In His love God considered us as Himself.
When Saul of Tarsus persecuted the church the Lord said to him, “Why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4) And concerning the poor He said, “I was hungry and you gave Me food … inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me,” “He who receives you receives Me.” (Mr 25: 35, 40; 10: 40)
God’s love also is manifested in the amazing familiarity between Him and His children.
Before destroying Sodom, for instance, the Lord said “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing …?” And He told Abraham what He had intended and permitted him to argue with Him and say, “Far be it from You … to slay the righteous with the wicked!… Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18: 17, 35)/
The same happened with Moses; for when the Lord saw the people worshipping the golden calf He said to Moses, “Let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them.” Then the Lord permitted Moses to argue with Him, even to say, “Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.” And the Lord accepted Moses’ intercession (Ex 32: 9-14).
The Lord even defended His children, as He defended John the Baptist, saying about him that he is more than a prophet and, “among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” (Mt 11: 8- 11)
The Lord also defended Moses the prophet when Aaron and Miriam spoke against him because of the Ethiopian woman he had married.
The Lord rebuked them, saying, “If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision … in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses… I speak with him face to face… Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” (Num 12: 6-8) The Lord then struck Miriam with leprosy, and she was shut out of the camp seven days.
The Lord defended Abraham when Abimeleck took his wife.
He came to Abimeleck in a dream, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife… restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live.” (Gen 20: 3,7).
He defended Job the Righteous against his three friends.
He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends… go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him … You have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” (Job 42: 7,8)
And the Lord defended Job when Satan complained against him.
The Lord said to Satan, “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, and one who fears God and shuns evil, and still holds fast to his integrity.” (Job 2:3)
Many are the examples of God’s defense for His children.
He defended His people in Egypt against Pharaoh and in the days of the Judges. He defended Daniel and the three young men in the days of captivity, and defended His disciples against the scribes and Pharisees who accused them. He said to Paul, “Do not be afraid… for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you.” (Acts 18: 9, 10) And He defends the church all the time and promised that the gates of Hades will not prevail against it (Mt 16: 18).
He even defended the sinners.
He defended the woman who wet His feet with her tears in the Pharisee’s house and rebuked him. He revealed to him that she was more righteous than him because she loved much, while that miserable woman stood silent, not able to defend herself )Lk 7)!
He defended the woman caught in the very act.
He said to those cruel men who presented her to be sentenced, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And when they went out, He said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (Jn 8: 7)
The Lord likewise defended the woman who poured the fragrant oil on Him in the last week.
When some murmured against her and considered what she had done waste of money He defended her saying that she had done that for His burial., and He even praised her and honored her, saying, “wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mt 26: 6 – 12)
Because of His love, the Lord gave us repentance for forgiveness.
He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2 : 4). He says in (Ezek 18: 32) that He has no pleasure in the death of one who dies but to turn and live. So He granted us repentance to life (Acts 11: 18).
Because of His love He did not end our life while we are in our sins.
He suffered us long that we may repent (Rom 2: 4). He suffered Saul of Tarsus long and did not take him and put him in Hades while persecuting the Church, but He waited till he became St. Paul the Apostle, the chosen vessel who labored more abundantly than all the apostles (1 Cor 15: 10).
He seeks and restores whoever goes astray.
This appears in the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. He also says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3: 20)
Love He also sent the apostles and the prophets as ambassadors for Him, and He gave them the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5: 18,20). He stretches out His hands all day long to a disobedient and contrary people (Rom 10: 21). He calls people to repent that He may forgive them, saying, “Come now, let us reason together… Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isa 1: 18)
Because of His love, the Lord rejoices when the sinners return to Him, and He does not blame them.
As in the Parable of the Lost Son when the father said, “We should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found,” and in the parable of the Lost Sheep; when the shepherd found it, he laid it on his shoulders rejoicing (Lk 15: 24, 32, 5). Indeed, there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner who repents (Lk 15: 10).
His forgiveness is deep, as we see from David’s Psalms, for he sang its praises, saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul… who forgives all your iniquities… The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to angel… He has not dealt with us according to our sins, not punished us according to our iniquities…” (Ps 103, 32: 1, 2: ) The Lord forgives and remembers our sin so more (Jer 31: 34) (Ez 18: 22; 33: 16) So, St. Paul says, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them.” (2 Cor 5:19) And he blesses those whose sins are covered and not imputed (Rom 4: 7,8; Ps 32: 1, 2)
David felt the depth of such forgiveness, so he said “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps 51: 7) How great is such forgiveness!
Greater still is that God, to forgive our sins, was crucified instead of us!
This is clear in the verses: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” “… the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Isa 53: 6; Jn 1: 29; Rom 5:8).
On the cross, Christ was a sacrifice of deep love and redemption; for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Jn 3: 16) It is not we who loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 Jn 4:10) So, we can say, before the Jews crucified Christ, His love for mankind had crucified Him. He went up the cross by His own will, urged by His love for mankind and desire to save them. He said, “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me… I have power to take it again.” (Jn 10: 17, 18). The great Redemption then is due to God’s love for people.
It is love that nailed Christ to the cross.
He refused to come down from the cross as they defied Him if He was the Son of God to come down (Mt 27: 40 – 42). The reason is that He was nailed to the cross not with nails, but with His love, that love which He described with the words, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (Jn 5: 13).
He laid His life for those who did Him wrong and broke His commandments. Therefore Paul the Apostle says, “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “In due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom 5: 7,8,6)
God’s love was the cause of His incarnation so that He might die. For us, and for our salvation Christ emptied Himself and took the form of a bondservant and the likeness of man (Phil 2: 7,8).
For us, because of His love, He suffered and accepted insults, not because of weakness but rather of strong love, to pay the wages of our sins.
The subject has still much more to be said, in other articles.