Valentine’s Day is now upon us, and of course, the central theme is love. It is the showing of one’s love for someone and being desirous of and asking for another to return such love in a way to say “I love you too.” A proposal, if you will. In this regard, which involves a suitor, the dictionary defines such as a man who courts a woman; a wooer. It further defines a wooer as: to seek the love or affection of, especially to marry; to court.

In this respect, allow me to present to you my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For the greatest act and show of love the world has ever known, see the figure there on Calvary’s brow: I can only humbly say, behold him there! For I am not worthy so much as to even approach him. As you gaze upon him, you will see that he is hanging from a cross by nails driven into his hands and feet. He is covered and “bathed” in his own blood, for as the Scriptures say: “....his visage was so marred more than any man – the result of a savage and brutal beating.

He wasn’t there merely by chance, but because mankind was under the curse of God’s law that says: “the soul that sinneth shall die.” His agony was so great, that he cried out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And thus, being made to be sin for us, he took our sin upon himself! And now hear the prophecies in Psalms 22: “...I am a worm and no man...despised of the people...I am poured out like water...and all my bones are out of joint...my heart is like wax....my tongue cleaves to my jaw...am brought down to the dust of death.”

His being there was the fulfillment of his intent and determination to die in our place! This was the price that God himself set for our redemption: God himself had to die; God himself had to shed his very own blood! By saying: “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to me,” he is doing exactly that on the cross. He is drawing us, asking us “to come unto me.” Yes, and by asking the Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do,” he is throwing the door wide open for us while tugging at our hearts. And, one could almost hear him say “be mine.”

Be mine and your sin will be forgiven and no longer under the curse. The prophet said: “though your sins be as scarlet ye shall be white as snow. Be mine for I am going to prepare a dwelling place for you and you will never die; for my special gift to you is eternal life, and you will never thirst or hunger, for I will give you both the bread of life and the water of life.”

But what could be the proper response to such a suitor and his appeal or proposal? For the only accepted response we need only to look again at Calvary’s brow and hear the thief on a cross next to our Savior when he says: “Master, remember me when you cometh into your kingdom.”

In saying “be mine,” “come unto me,” and “whosoever believeth in me shall never die,” isn’t he asking us to consider and look expectantly upon the heavenly scene? We have the “picture” of a people for whom a pure, white, shining vesture or garment has been prepared. And as we stand so arrayed before the very throne of God, our hearts are suddenly filled with an overwhelming measure of love, and our eyes are filled with great tears of joy; for we are now aware that he is present! The lamb of God himself has stepped forth from the midst of the throne. And, as our groom, places a wedding ring on our fingers; and then presents us to all the heavenly host as his greatly beloved, precious bride! The church! And all the host of Heaven bow down; lovingly and adoringly as kings cast their crowns down before him!

And so, indeed, as the Lord said on the cross: “It is finished!” Thus, the message of God written indelibly throughout space and time by his own blood is there for all to see: “I love you! Love has conquered!”

Jess Shifflett, of Front Royal, is an ordained minister of the Southern Baptist Denomination and a member of Rileyville Baptist Church.

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