Decades ago the story was told of a poor widow who contributed to the Dorpatian Branch of the Russian Bible Society the sum of one ruble. Someone asked her if that was too much for a lady in her financial circumstances. Her reply was classic: "Love is not afraid of giving too much!"
Isaac Watts wrote, "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." This is the essence of what Jesus discussed with Nicodemus one night 2,000 years ago when he stated, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son..." God's love gave everything!
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.