By Greg Grotewold
Wanting to get away over spring break, our family spent five wonderful days in Boston. A big part of the trip’s excitement – in addition to New England’s rich colonial history of course – was the plane ride itself. It was the first for both boys. With each having his own window seat, the view kept them captive for a large portion of the flight out and back.
Luke and Eli’s reaction to their inaugural flight reminded me of my own some 35 years ago. I recall being absolutely awestruck as to the country’s massiveness. And to be honest, I’ve never lost the fascination. Even after all these years of business travel, I continue to be amazed every time I’m in the air.
The source of the amazement has morphed, though. While the expansive landscape continues to impress, it’s my standing in connection to it that has me most intrigued these days. At 30,000 feet, I’m but an indistinguishable speck on the horizon – one diminutive object amongst a plethora of others. And yet, despite my small stature, I’m significant. In fact, my worth greatly exceeds what my size would otherwise dictate and is anything but commensurate.
This disproportionate value isn’t because I’m rich and famous. I’m not. It isn’t because I’ve won a Pulitzer or found the cure for some incapacitating disease. I haven’t. It isn’t because I carry uncanny theological or geopolitical insight. I don’t. And even if I was, even if I had, even if I did, the source of said significance is tied to something much greater and has absolutely nothing to do with me.
I’m valuable because I have the favor of the One who created the stratosphere in which we flew and the planet on which we gazed. Jesus Christ, who spoke the universe into existence and superintends every element of it, is for me (Romans 8:31, Psalm 56:9). He calls me friend (John 15:15). The Lord relentlessly pursued this mere speck with His irresistible grace and saved me from myself. He took His glorious standing with the Father and in an act of unsurpassed mercy bestowed it upon me, a sinner deserving eternal death. While the blessings of such favor are many, the most salient amongst them also happens to be the most confounding. Jesus doesn’t just love me; no, He loves me like the Father loves Him. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9, ESV).
This is staggering, given the abiding adoration the Father has for His Son. He cherishes Jesus and possesses a level of affection that quite honestly is difficult to comprehend. It is that deep, that wide, that encompassing. The best I can do to try and illustrate is this. For those who are parents, take the love that you experienced the first time you held your newborn baby and then multiply that emotion a thousandfold; you’ll begin to scratch the surface of the Father’s love towards His Son and thus the Son’s love towards me.
Adding to the astonishment, not only does Jesus love me as the Father loves Him, but the Father loves me with the same passion that His Son does. I know this because, as Jesus explains in John’s Gospel, the two are one. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (14:9, ESV). “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (14:11). They enjoy (along with the Holy Spirit) perfect dispositional unity. Their character, inclination, and sentiment are in complete harmony with each other, for Jesus is the exact imprint of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). What the Son thinks and feels is what the Father thinks and feels. When the former speaks, He is representing the latter. “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works” (John 14:10). The Father and Son are unified on all fronts, including the depth of affection they carry for me.
Because of King Jesus, I’m anything but a mere speck. I’m profoundly loved and adored. If Jesus is the Lord of your life, this is your glorious reality too. Be in awe of the Savior.
Greg Grotewold lives in Oakdale, Minn. with his wife, Sandi, and their two sons, Luke and Eli. He is a deacon in his local church and greatly enjoys serving in this capacity.