This past Friday we held our annual Good Friday event. I spent time sharing some thoughts on Good Friday and Easter.
As we turn our eyes to the cross, it is easy to get captivated by the violence of the crucifixion and miss the demonstration of God’s love for us. Paul tells us in Romans 5:8 that “God has demonstrated His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
In 1999 a movie was released titled Three Seasons. It was shot in Vietnam and won all kinds of international awards. It revolved around several different storylines.
One of the storylines tells about Hai. Hai makes deliveries by bicycle and he is very poor.
He loves this woman, Lan, who’s a beautiful prostitute. They both have unfulfilled desires and lead unfulfilled lives. Hai dreams of one day having Lan as his wife. Lan is trying to sleep her way out of the life she hates so much. She hates the poverty and the filthy life she’s in. She longs to have the clean, beautiful life of the people who live in those elegant penthouses where she gives herself sexually to her customers. Lan always has to leave because they never let her stay overnight. It’s not working for her because the more she gives herself away to prostitution in order to get out, the more she’s brutalized and enslaved. Then Hai enters a bicycle race. And to everyone’s surprise wins the grand prize and a large sum of money. There’s so much he can do with the money, but he spends it all on one thing.
He rents an expensive room in one of the finest hotels and he pays Lan’s fee to come be with him. I’m sure those who watch the movie expect a steamy love scene, but when the two get to the room Hai tells her he doesn’t want to have sex with her. He tells Lan that he has purchased her a place as a guest in the world she dreams of joining. He asks of her only her permission to watch her fall asleep. Slowly and comfortably, she falls asleep and he’s gone when she wakes up the next morning, having demanded nothing from her except the chance to fulfill her desire to belong. After this, something snaps in her and she finds she can’t go back to the life of prostitution. The reason is, she experienced for the first time someone used their power to serve and love her, not use her.
And it changed Lan. It changed her life. She got a new sense of dignity that her life really mattered. You see, what happened in Lan’s life is that she had been changed by the transforming grace of selfless love.
This is a picture of our God.
Take a moment to think about His incredible power. We live in a galaxy called the Milky Way. It has 100 billion stars in it and is 100,000 light years wide. What is so hard to fathom is that the God of the Bible holds it all in His hands.
And try to get your arms around this; that same God came and died for you and me, as small and insignificant as we appear in this vast universe. Instead of crushing us because of our sin and depravity, He came to serve us and to give his life as a ransom for us. You see what he did at the crucifixion. He was tortured, he was stripped naked for all to see. He was spit upon, he was beaten. In other words, he sacrificed his honor to demonstrate his love for us.
If we can truly get this truth into our hearts, it will change our view of God and it will change us forever.
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.