The Cross: The Greatest Public Display of Affection
By Sarah Komisky
“But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
– Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
When I was in high school, the greatest display of affection was seen during Homecoming, Winter Formal, or Prom. Girls all over campus would gloat over their decorated poster boards, bouquet of roses, or bunch of balloons. If you were a girl on campus you were “loved” depending on the degree you were wooed. The bigger the fuss, the more these girls would parade around campus while the rest of the girls walked around looking like Wednesday from the Adam’s Family lamenting that they weren’t one of the “fussed.”
Yet, this desire is not only sought out in the high school realm, it is also seen in our adult years when it’s time to get married. When the guy proposes on a jumotron, kneels down in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, writes to a T.V. show to “go big” on the proposal, or has the guts to be vulnerable in front of her closest friends and family, the girl no doubt feels loved when she knows he is declaring his love for her and her alone. But the media also echoes our sentiments in romances our culture considers some of the top “chick flicks.” Movies like Say Anything, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Love Actually (which I am in no way advocating), send ladies heart’s pitter-pattering. Why? Because we want a Say Anything moment when someone professes his love for us boldly, or a 10 Things I Hate About You serenade accompanied by a marching band, or a cute guy to show up at our door with a huge sign expressing his love for us a la’ Love Actually. Whatever the case, we ladies want to feel and experience the love declared to us.
Inside every girl lies the longing for some sort of public display of affection. No, I’m not talking about PDA (public display of affection) that is inappropriate, but a different kind that makes us feel wanted, affirmed and loved. We want to know we matter. And when someone invests in us, we know we are valued creating a confidence in that love and in that person. Somehow our value seems to increase in light of the person pursuing us. If we feel they have worth, their affirmation becomes of very high value to us.
Yet, we forget that that the person we put all that stock into is merely human. Where there are some whose displays of love are conditional and fickle, others whose love is God honoring and sincere, there is only One who can love us fully, completely, and unconditionally. One who is love and displayed the greatest public display of affection in world history. His name is Jesus Christ.
When we our at our worst, not wanting anything to do with Jesus, thinking we are “good enough” without Him, and go on our own path without Him, God still loves us. When we are complete messes, unable to give God back any type of love, God woos and pursues despite our rejection of Him time and time again!
Human loved is flawed and fickle—often based on conditions; but God’s love is unconditional. In the midst of our rebellion, God displayed his deep love for us and declared it throughout history into eternity! He took on our penalty (debt) for everything we did wrong and every way we offended God’s righteous standards so we wouldn’t have to. He publicly hung and suffered innocently on the cross because he didn’t want us to experience the consequence of sin that came when humanity parted ways with God (beginning back in Genesis chapter 3). In this demonstration, he publicly proclaimed to the world and to us that He forever loves us.
Yet, the value is even higher because of the one proclaiming it. If this was a person, it would mean something. Yet this wasn’t any person, it was God! If God of the universe has publicly displayed His love for you, then we must know we have great value and are greatly loved. If we know this and accept this, there is a confidence that rises in us knowing we are wanted by the Author of Love. While experiencing this type of love from a guy is possible, in Jesus it is something we can be thankful for and delight in. We no longer have to depend on guys to give us affirmation or walk around bummed because we are unaware of the deep love at our fingertips. Knowing how much we are loved by Jesus will produce a thrill that surpasses decorated poster boards, balloons, and even roses as we relish in the love God declared for us.