Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Love of God Has Fulfilled

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"'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated, 'God with us.'" (Matthew 1:23).

The love of our lord was loud and clear through His birth. He gave us hope for a new life through His mission. He fills our hearts with strength that nothing is impossible when you have the love of God in your heart. Through His death, we are no longer fearful of death. Through His resurrection, we are saved and looking forward to a new life.

He restored humanity with His own life, a perfect plan. He came to earth in order to be among us and to show His love for us. He humbled Himself in everything He did and touched. He gave all that He had, like a friend He conducts Himself among us.

"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).

We get to meet our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the manger for the first time, a group of animals gathered around Him. There is nothing to brag about, filthy, poor, and smelly stable where a baby came to life. His name was decided by God, Jesus His name, He was dressed and wrapped in rags. But His purity and His glory was shown to many shepherds attending sheep at night and Magi's came from far. They all desired to see Him and to be witness of Him being born.

Our Lord Jesus Christ grew in a quiet surrounding in a small town called Galilee. Like any child, He learned to walk, talk, listen to His parents, play with other children, etc. until we get to meet Him again. When He started to reveal His identity and to walk among everyone, He did it with love, grace, and compassion.

"When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them" (Luke 4:40).

People came to see Him, to be touched by Him, to learn from Him, and to walk with Him. And He welcomed everyone and never sent anyone away empty. His message was very clear through His life; God is love. He came to save everyone, to show us the way, and to give us a new life.

He was completely human and completely divine since the day He was born. When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was thirty years of age when He started His ministry, He knew exactly what He needed to do. He never hesitated. His plan was clear and He walked through it full of grace, love, and compassion.

"When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil" (Matthew 3:16-17;4:1).

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ started His ministry after He was baptized and tempted in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights by the devil, who tried to raise doubts in His mind and heart about God's promises as he did with Adam and Eve. Jesus had prevailed in each and every dare. For He knew the words of God in His heart and relied on Him for all His needs.

When our Lord Jesus Christ chose His disciples, He did not look for certain qualification as smart, good looking, wise, etc., but He looked for the loving, obedient, and humble people.

"On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding" (John 2:1-2).

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ's first miracle was the wedding in Cana. Why? When we think of a wedding many things come to mind such as drinking, dancing, laughter, etc. Why did He choose to go to wedding on His first miracle? Is there a lesson we need to learn?

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was invited to the wedding which represents a new commitment, new beginning. Our Lord came to earth to emphasize this message that in order to be one with God, we need to elevate ourselves from worldly life to heavenly one through obedience. This is why He converted the six wine jars into a new kind of substance that is more divine and pure.

Our Lord Jesus Christ became one of us through His ministry. He preached, prayed, healed, touched the untouchable, and inspired so many to leave their old habits, to follow Him, to have hope, and to love and help each other.

"You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him" (John 13:13-16).

Through Jesus' life we see the kind heart, the humility, giving all what He got even beyond our imagination. The best illustration was washing His disciple's feet. Here we get to see a glimpse of a most beautiful heart despite what God sees in His disciple's heart and what He knows of betrayal and denial. He did not rebuke them but He stood and put Himself to the task that is reserved only for a servant. He took His outer garment, wrapped a towel, and carried a pitcher and a basin and gently started washing His disciple's feet and drying it with the towel.

"And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, 'Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.'" (Luke 22:41-42).

Jesus knew that His life was coming too close to the end. He knew His time had come. He knew of the suffering that He will face; the betrayal, denials, and abandonment by His disciples. His heart was filled with grief. But He made His decision; He will follow His path and never look back.

All the power of evil wrapped against Him and the Jewish leaders stirred the people. And very few came to stand by Him. But He stood all alone, calm, with His heart pure and full of mercy and understanding. The question is why You endure their accusations, the spitting, the whipping, the beating, and the crown of thorns? Why do You still love them? Why do they deserve Your second chance?

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ forgot about Himself for the sake of us. Why? For God is love. We all are His children. He created us with His own hand and nothing can keep Him away from us. He will do what it takes to bring us back to Him. No nails, thorns, cross, spire, etc. could do this but Him.

"Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'" (Luke 23:34).

Where can you see such love that tolerates and endures such a nightmare? The most hurtful words, being shamed, and a body that is covered with bleeding cracks, holes in the hands and the feet, lungs that are gasping for air, eyes blinded by the bleeding from the thorns and the beatings, suffering in silence and prayers is what He endured for us.

What a journey our Lord went through from the beginning in order to come and save us. Now after His resurrection and ascension to heaven, we are waiting for His second coming. Through the Holy Spirit in us and His words, we are still guided to what is right and acceptable by Him so we can be worthy to be called His children.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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