Charles Wesley wrote such beautiful hymns during his life (1707-1788). One of my favorites is “Amazing Love,” in which he emphasizes the mystery of Jesus’s death. The third verse of that hymn goes like this: “He left His Father’s throne above – so free, so infinite His grace - Emptied Himself of all but love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race (mankind).”
Jesus, being God, is immortal and has all power and authority, but for our sake he temporarily and willingly gave up immortality, power, dignity, and authority. He washed his servants’ feet, allowed Himself to be insulted, ridiculed, beaten, dis-robed, and crucified; He died like a criminal, although He had done nothing wrong. How many of our present-day leaders (kings, ministers, presidents, etc.) would accept anything less than what their positions allow them?
Have you ever had an argument with someone who asked if you knew who he or she was? When people express themselves that way, they are really saying, “I am a very important and powerful person. I deserve to be respected, and don’t you mess with me.” Many people in positions of authority expect everybody else to recognize that, and respect them accordingly. They get highly indignant if they sense they’ve been denied that respect in any way.
Jesus, on the other hand, emptied Himself of everything, except love. Jesus’s love for us and His obedience to His Father were His reasons for becoming flesh and dwelling among men. Love and obedience sent Him to the cross, and held Him there until He died! Had He allowed His immortality, power, authority, and the respect due Him to affect His decision, you and I would still be in our sins, not forgiven, and on the way to a Christ-less eternity. He emptied Himself of all except love!
If you are an unbeliever, understand that Jesus died in your place. He gave up everything so He could die to save you. He died so you don’t have to. The Scripture puts it this way, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in him stands condemned already.” (John 3:16-18 NIV)
God wants you to respond to His sacrifice of love with a, “Yes Lord, I accept the death of your Son in my place. Please forgive my sins, and make me your child.” The Bible tells us, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NIV)
On the other hand, if you are a Christian, you already understand salvation, but are you walking in humility and selflessness as Jesus walked? Jesus emptied Himself of all, except love. He instructs us, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow-man has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8 NIV)
Yes, salvation is free, but it sure cost Him everything, and for that reason, let’s love Him through obedience. He said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (John 14:21 NIV)