In chapter three of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he writes out a prayer that he prayed on behalf of the church (Ephesians 3:14-21). The crux of that prayer was his sincere desire that they might grasp “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”
It is very important to grapple with the extents of God’s love. Those adjectives are helpful. I can visualize wide and long by thinking about the universe. Apparently the clouds rise to maybe 7.5 miles above the earth. And the edge of space begins 62 miles above our planet. Did you know that from earth to the edge of the observable universe it is 46.5 billion light years. I don’t really understand light years, but that is really wide and high!
And it helps to think about the Mariana Trench to get an understanding of the concept of depth. That trench, in the Western Pacific, is the deepest part of earth. It is over 35,800 feet deep. We could drop Mount Everest into the trench and its peak would still be 1.2 miles under water.
Although those adjectives are helpful to consider, I think the love of our Savior is best described by observing it in action. And one of my favorite “Godly love stories” is found in the book of 2 Samuel 9. Saul and his son, Jonathan, have died in battle. David is fully ensconced as the King of Israel. But one day he begins to wonder, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
A search is made and come to find out, yes, Jonathan’s handicapped son, Mephibosheth, is still alive. It seems that during the siege on Gilboa, he was dropped by his nurse and both his legs were permanently crippled. His life was pretty miserable until David had him brought to the palace.
David said to him, “Don’t be afraid, I will show you kindness for the sake of your father, Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather, Saul…” And then he added something astonishing as he went on to say, “…and you will always eat at my table.”
Imagine the royal family gathering for a feast. David, his wives, and many children would dress in fine clothes and gather around a long, wooden table. Laughter and warm conversations would fill the air as servants laid out a scrumptious meal.
All of a sudden, the activity around the dining room would stop as David leaned forward so he could hear clearly. Scrape, thump, scrape. The sounds of a crippled young man dragging his mangled limbs on the stone walkway would grab his attention. Mephibosheth was coming!
He would be warmly welcomed to the table; seated in comfort near David; his daily needs completely met.
Now that is a description of the love of the Lord! You and I are invited to join Jesus at that same table. No matter how crippled we are by our sin, His love draws us in. It is wide, long, high, and deep!