In his excellent book King’s Cross, Tim Keller talks about the necessity of Jesus’ death. Beyond the legal necessity of Jesus’ death to atone for our sins, Keller talks about the personal necessity of Jesus’ death. We need Jesus to die for us because we need to be loved by someone who doesn’t need anything from us.
Our love for one another is deeply flawed. And we all seem to know the difference between false love and true love. In false love we aim to use the other person to fulfill our happiness. False love is conditional and non-vulnerable. It needs something from the other person. It says: “I will love you if ….. if you make me happy, if you affirm me, if you provide the things I want, if you make me feel secure, if you ….” And it holds back, not willing to completely give itself to the other in case it needs to minimize its losses in the relationship. Sadly, we all love in this false, broken way. We love the other for what we need from them, not for what we can give to them. We use them to get love.
True love is unconditional and completely vulnerable. Its greatest joy is the joy of the other. It holds nothing back, giving all away for the loved one. We cannot love like this – not fully, not all the time. But we need, desperately need, exactly this kind of love. We need love from someone who doesn’t need anything from us.
Inside the Trinity, from all eternity past, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been giving and receiving this perfect love. God doesn’t need love from us. He is already fully satisfied and delighted with the love he has. Jesus can love us radically, unconditionally, and vulnerably. We need this kind of love because it heals us. It tells us we are of such enormous worth that God has given everything for us. And it allows us to begin to love others in this amazingly radical way - Jesus’ way.