If sin is largely about a disproportionate delight in lesser lovers, then redemption follows suit.
The Greek word epithumia is used 38 times in the New Testament. Technically, it is a neutral term that can be used to describe strong feelings and urges stemming from deep-set passions and loves. It quite literally means passionate desire focused on something or someone. While most of the time it is used in a negative context referring to sinful over-desires for something or someone, interestingly enough it is also used to describe the feelings of Christ for his disciples and Paul’s desire to depart and be with Christ and also to see his beloved church plants once again. As such, we see that sin is less about the strength of the desire and far more about the object upon which it is fixed and the heart from which it originates.
In Luke 22, we find Christ and his disciples, along with the buzzing Jewish crowds in Jerusalem, eagerly preparing for the coming Passover celebration. After securing the equivalent of an Air B & B for the night, the supper begins.
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. I tell you that I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Luke 22: 14-16
Here we find Jesus vulnerable and honest about His deep love for His often-erring, yet earnest soul-fishing apprentices. On this, the night before his death, His heart is passionately desiring to be with His dear friends one last time before the harrowing gauntlet He must endure that they might enjoy grace.
A disproportional delight, indeed.
Because the Son had an appropriate delight and trust in the Father, He attached His unconditional love to undeserving people. Having loved those that God had given them in the world, He loved them to the uttermost limit, all the way to the end (John 13:1).
He did this because the Father had done this from the beginning, and the Son only did what the Father modeled and ordained (John 8:28).
The Scriptures tell us about this seemingly disproportionate delight the Father attached to an undeserving people.
For you are a people holy the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the people who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery. Deuteronomy 7: 6-8.
Later, Asaph, one of the psalm-writers, captures a similar sentiment when talking about God’s seemingly disproportionate delight in an undeserving people.
When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm.” Psalm 105: 12-15.
As I read these Scriptures this week, I was blown away at three re-discoveries: God’s disproportionate love for me, my disproportionate love for sin and self, and the One through whom these two irreconcilable realities made peace.
Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father and the One who deserved all His daddy’s delight, submitted Himself to be oppressed on our behalf. The Anointed One, the one who was more than a prophet (the very Word of God), had human hands violently laid on Him and chose to be harmed that we might be healed.
This week, may we fall on our faces in unequaled worship before the God who loves us with a disproportionate love.