The night was clear and calm after a week of weather with bouts of wind and rain. The guests began to arrive, dressed in vintage glamour costumes. It was going to be a fun night and I had been given instructions to stay outside and enjoy the party.
As the Jazz band played, laughter and chatter rang throughout the air while the guests mingled. My husband appeared every few minutes with new platters of canapés and breaking a slight sweat. He had worked tirelessly throughout the previous weeks preparing our property to celebrate a significant birthday for me, and then tirelessly at the party making sure every guest was well looked after with plenty to eat and drink.
My husband brought out the cake, with exclamations of delight from the guests, followed by the surprise gift of my first published book which he had managed to keep a secret from me until now. We’re talking weeks and months of preparation for this one moment in time.
I was numb with surprise. This man, who had been struggling with pneumonia and a massive work load, had taken the time out to do so much for me, and I still struggle to comprehend all that it took for him to make that happen.
The sacrifice of love
“You must love me an awful lot,” I said to him the following day as he lay in bed, sick with a migraine. I already knew he did, but the sacrifice he had made of his time and health to give me a perfect celebration was mind blowing. Whether I deserve such love or not, it was generously poured out on me and I was left speechless, pondering the depth and breadth of his love.
As I observed his acts of selfless service towards me, I couldn’t help but see the love of Jesus shining through: Jesus washing his disciples feet; Jesus healing the sick; Jesus giving his all so that we can have eternal life.
A party in heaven
“I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew chapter 8 verse 11)
Jesus is in the process of preparing a party in heaven for us and it will be the party of parties – the party to exceed all others. The preparation for this grand event is on a whole new level.
In order to bring in all the guests to this banquet, God has orchestrated everything around this moment in time. Firstly, he created us. Then, when death took a hold on us because of our waywardness, God provided a way to banish death forever, opening heaven’s gates for us despite our unworthiness. But it required the greatest gift of all time – the sacrifice of his son. Because of his great love for us, he gave. And the pain it cost to bring us freedom from death, means we get to be with the one who loves us the most forever.
Love that knows no bounds
When we stop to think of what was involved in bringing us back to him, it is truly astounding. Jesus lived his life on this earth to teach us, serve us, heal us, warn us and comfort us and ultimately to die for us so that he could have us with him in heaven again.
The enormity of his love knows no bounds – his desire is to be with his children and he gave his all to make that happen. Now all we have to do is say yes to him. And when we sit down to eat at the party prepared for us in heaven, I hope to see you there my friend.
‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ (1 John chapter 3 verse 1)
‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.’ (Ephesians 2 verses 4-5)
Originally published in Christian Today Australia, 18th October, 2016