No Greater Love
Bible Reading: Ephesians 3
Ephesians 3:17-19, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
A 1970s BeeGees song asked the question, “How deep is your love?” The question presupposes that there is a limit to the depth of any human’s love. That presupposition is correct. No matter how much we love, or are loved, in our human relationships, none of us can love infinitely or perfectly. If our greatest need is to be fully and perfectly loved—and a legitimate argument can be made for that—then we can never be fully satisfied with mere human love. We need to be loved by someone who knows all about us and yet loves us with a love whose depth “surpasses knowledge.” That kind of love can only be found in Jesus.
Being a love which “surpasses knowledge,” we will always fall short in our efforts to describe it or write about it. Even as that wonderful hymn, “The Love of God,” puts it, “Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.” And it’s so very good that the love of Jesus is that way. How wonderful to know this in times of trouble, or loneliness, or failure, or discouragement—that in Jesus we have a Savior who loves us so much that our finite minds cannot fathom the extent.
The verse speaks of the “breadth and length and height and depth” of the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18). Such language brings the cross to mind. As the Apostle John explained, we know love in that He laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16). Such love brought Him down from heaven’s perfection and the worship of angels to this needy world where He was despised and rejected by men. Though He was rich yet for our sakes, He impoverished Himself that we might be made rich and be lifted one day to the very heights of heaven (2 Corinthians 8:9). With outstretched arms, He died giving His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), inviting Jews and Gentiles, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, and people of every tribe on earth to receive salvation and forgiveness via faith in Him (Galatians 3:28; Revelation 5:9-10)! His love has worked to save even the vilest of offenders (1 Timothy 1:15). It has worked to save you and me. And though we fail Him, and even countless times, His love for us has no limit. Indeed, nothing can work to separate us from it (Romans 8:39).
On a cold, rainy night in London in the late 1800s, Samuel Trevor Francis was walking home from work along the Thames River. He was but a lonely teenager, struggling with his faith. When crossing the Hungerford Bridge, he looked down upon the dark waters and thought he heard a voice in his head, saying, “Make an end to all this misery.” Refusing the temptation, he instead asked himself, “Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” and then replied, “I do believe with my whole heart!” Mr. Francis spent the next 73 years of his life in ministry, as a London merchant, with a passion for hymn writing and open-air preaching.
He wrote the hymn “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.” You will notice how the words of the hymn reflect to his previous experience, speaking of how experiencing the “vast, unmeasured, boundless,” love of Jesus is like being immersed in a mighty ocean. It is likely that he drew such words from our text. Take some time this morning to soak it all in. You and I have done nothing to deserve such a love. And though He knows all about every one of us, and all about all our sins and failures, He nevertheless loved us in dying for our sins. How deep is His love! So deep that no matter how needy we might feel, the reality is that in Jesus we are loved with a love that will never let us go. His love is “rolling…underneath (us), all around (us).” His love is indeed all around us. It is in us. Before us. Behind us. Under us. Working through us. With us. Near us. How incredibly blessed we are to be so loved! What a glorious Savior!
O THE DEEP, DEEP LOVE OF JESUS
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!