The return of Christ is not simply a war story, it is a love story. We read of Christ’s love, we accept the doctrinal veracity of His promise, yet how differently we would be both in faith and action if we truly lived in the fullness of His love!
In his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 3, Paul prayed that church would “be strengthened with power through [God’s] Spirit in [our] inner man.” This inner empowerment is not only so we might endure but so“Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith; and that [we], being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”Ephesians 3:17-19
We read the scriptures, but they may seem like just words or poetry. Yet, truly they are so full, so rich, it is hard to assimilate them. Look at just verse 19 as rendered in the Amplified Bible.
[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
This is God’s will for us, not only now, but ever more intensely as we approach the End Times. He prays that we would be “filled through all [our] being unto all the fullness of God.” What does that mean – all the fullness? What should we expect when we truly “have the richest measure of the divine Presence”? What is this eternal nectar, this incomprehensible love, that enables us to “become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself”!
A Prophetic Love Story
If God’s love is truly for us, carrying us into the depths of His heart, then how shall we respond? I am thinking of Mary Magdalene’s love for Jesus. Yes, here in the love Jesus has for Mary and in her response, we see flashes of Christ’s love for the church. Mary is at Jesus’ empty tomb. The apostles came, looked into the sepulcher, and went away bewildered. But Mary lingered, weeping.
It is noteworthy that Jesus did not immediately come to the apostles; He came first to a woman. It tells us Jesus responds to love more than position; He comes first to those who want Him most. The apostles went away wondering, but there was something in Mary’s inconsolably broken heart that Jesus Himself was drawn to.
In her sorrow she did not recognize Him. He said, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Blinded by her tears, she supposes Jesus is the gardener. “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni,” (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” John 20:15-17
The instant Mary sees the Lord she clings to Him. And here is the most astounding event: Christ interrupted His ascent into heaven to answer this woman’s love! Jesus said, “Stop clinging to Me….I have not yet ascended.” In His next appearance, Jesus appears to the disciples. He tells them, “Touch me.” For Mary, He broke protocol. In whatever He meant in saying, “I have not yet ascended,” He stopped His progression to be with her!
I am staggered by this response of Christ to Mary’s longing! This is the nature of His love. His passion for His bride rules His every thought and action! We are the “joy set before Him” (Heb. 12:2). For us, He endured the anguish of the cross. In so doing, Jesus demonstrated that His love for the church is the highest, most powerful law of His kingdom!
It is His passion for the church that compels Him to come for us in His second coming. Yet, as He broke protocol for Mary, so He reveals His heart to us. If we will be satisfied with nothing less than Christ, it is Christ we shall possess. He will come to us. Of all the marvels in this universe, the greatest is the love Christ has for His church.