Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

Close this search box.

Christ showed God’s love for us on the cross

March 30, 2024

Daily Scripture

Romans 5:6-11

6 While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people. 7 It isn’t often that someone will die for a righteous person, though maybe someone might dare to die for a good person. 8 But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. 9 So, now that we have been made righteous by his blood, we can be even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. 10 If we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son while we were still enemies, now that we have been reconciled, how much more certain is it that we will be saved by his life? 11 And not only that: we even take pride in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, the one through whom we now have a restored relationship with God.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The center of all the apostle Paul believed and taught was that Jesus’ death on the cross reconciled us to God. Rebellious humans on their own couldn’t close the gap between them and God. Only God could do that. And God did it! Scholar N. T. Wright explained: “When we look at Jesus, the Messiah, we are looking at the one who embodies God’s own love, God’s love-in-action. Look at [Romans 5,] verse 8. What Paul says here makes no sense unless Jesus, in his life and death, was the very incarnation, the ‘enfleshment’ (that’s what ‘incarnation’ means) of the living, loving God. After all, it doesn’t make sense if I say to you, ‘I see you’re in a real mess! I love you so much that I’m going to… send someone else to help you out of it.’ If the death of the Messiah shows how much God loves us, that can only be because the Messiah is the fully human being (how much more human can you get than being crucified?) in whom the living God is fully present.” *

  • Scholar William Barclay wrote, “The coming of Christ and the death of Christ, is the proof of God’s love. Sometimes the thing is stated as if on the one side there was a gentle, loving Christ, on the other an angry and vengeful God; and as if Christ did something which changed God’s attitude to [people]. Nothing could be further from the truth…. Jesus did not come to change God’s attitude to [people]; he came to show what it is and always was.” ** Paul knew God did not have to be “talked into” saving you (as he wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). That’s why, in a world in which Roman philosopher Cicero wrote, “The idea of the cross should never come near the bodies of Roman citizens; it should never pass through their thoughts, eyes or ears,” Paul (a Roman citizen—cf. Acts 22:25-27) said, “God forbid that I should boast about anything except for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). Jesus’ cross transformed his life for the better. Do you join Paul in trusting Jesus, your crucified king?

Lord Jesus, the old American hymn asked, “What wondrous love is this?” It’s hard for me to find words for my gratitude. But I offer you my loyalty, my love, my life. Amen.

GPS Insights

Dawn North

Dawn North

Dawn North is fairly new to Church of the Resurrection and lives with her husband, Jim, in their comfy cozy log cabin in rural Edgerton. She was a middle school teacher and now is a ‘sometimes’ freelance writer. She loves hanging out with her kids and grandkids and is an amateur beekeeper.

In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller asks if our stories are being stolen by the easy life… a life trying to avoid conflict. * That is a deeply personal question each of us must answer. For me, dodging disagreements and discord are highly developed skills. As a Type 9 on the Enneagram, my word descriptor is “peacemaker.” This lady’s inner nature prefers a storyline of harmony and happiness and sunlight rather than darkness.

But God’s Story is a tale quite unlike any other, filled with treachery, disloyalty, persecution, love and grief. And, even harder, it was a story written in the blood of his son. God, the creator of everything, had a love story to write (sounds paradoxical to the words used above, and it should). Rather than a recital of rules written in stone, it would be a love letter tattooed on the hearts of humanity… a story of infinite love and reconciliation of The Totally Divine with The Totally Human. And God would allow nothing to get in the way.

In J. K. Rowling’s bestselling Harry Potter fantasy series, the wizard Dumbledore persistently tells Harry that Harry’s primary weapon is his ability to love. ** Harry finds this sappy and trite. How in the world could love defeat the number one villain on the Most Wanted List of Hogwarts and its hamlets?

Sound familiar? Neither did those in Jesus’s day see love as a powerful weapon or life-changing ammo. But God knew something they did not. Paul said in Romans 5:12-18, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin… so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.” *** The righteous act Paul spoke of was Jesus willingly exchanging his life for ours on a dehumanizing, dignity-stealing cross.

Pastor Adam said in last Sunday’s message that the Story of God is a masterpiece. This masterpiece had been years and years and years in the making. The crucifixion and resurrection were the closing chapters of God’s love story to humanity. Per Pastor Adam, Jesus’s death was more than a business transaction–if I do this, then you need to do that. This was a relational type of transaction, the goal of which was the creation and maintenance of a healthy relationship. It was an act of reconciliation that would endure forever.

As Harry Potter’s love defeated his nemesis, Voldemort, God’s love truly defeated death through Jesus. Contrary to what Harry thought, contrary to what humans thought, love was more than enough. Rob Bell, in Love Wins, writes, “Love is what God is, love is why Jesus came, and love is why he continues to come, year after year to person after person.” **** I am exceedingly grateful that God’s Story was not stolen by the easy life.

My tendency to avoid conflict is still around. I am braver than I was, yet not as brave as I want to be. There is no denying that facing difficult challenges has changed me. My story is far deeper and more substantial and amazing because of those conflict-packed, struggle-stuffed events that are a part of my one life. Note that I did not say there was anything easy about it. (Btw, remind me sometime to tell you how strawberry shortcake shaped my life.)

* Miller, Donald, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. 2009. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.
** Rowling, J. K., Harry Potter Book Series, Volumes 1-7. 1997-2007. Bloomsbury, England: Bloomsbury Publishing.
*** New International Version (NIV). Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011. Biblica, Inc.
**** Bell, Rob, Love Wins. 2011. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Wright, N.T. Paul for Everyone, Romans Part One: Chapters 1-8 (p. 86). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letter to the Romans (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, pp. 76-77.