“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9
I was an only child for most of my childhood. Actually, I was a lonely only child. I wasn’t sad or mistreated, I was happy and imaginatively creative in my loneliness. But I was lonely all the same. And I saw other friends and cousins with siblings and I knew I was missing something special. There was this relationship that they had that I wasn’t privy to, I wasn’t able to experience. I had no siblings. I was the only daughter…for a time.
And that made me think about how You, Jesus, being the only begotten Son of God, changed everything for me. It made me think about how You answered the prayers of my childhood for a relationship with siblings even more deeply than they would have been answered had I always had siblings. So I feel that I should look into Your onlyness for a little while today and what Your onlyness has done for me and for the world.
There is one specific thing above all things that demonstrates, that makes known to us, to me, the love of God toward us, toward me. This only begottenness of You, Jesus. In You, Lord, was manifested the love of God. The word for “manifested” here is the Greek word “phaneroo.” It means “to make apparent, known, manifest.” But I want to jump back and make a Hebraic connection. God, You from the beginning were making Yourself manifest. It’s the whole reason You gave Your words and Your prophets and the Torah; it’s the whole reason we have that “Old Testament.” That’s the beginning of what You gave us in order to begin seeing You manifest Yourself. It’s how You begin to make Yourself known and show Yourself to us. It’s the start on knowing You we need until we come to Jesus who completes the picture for us. Jesus, You aren’t separate, You are the completion of what You started. You are the” continuation of the manifestation of God, this time in flesh and blood rather than in words alone.” (Skip Moen)
So here is this revealing, this manifestation, this making Yourself known that You started and that You are continuing. It’s not just a one time deal. And it’s for us and to us and it goes even deeper. It’s in us. How do I get that? Because it’s how we are able to live through You. You are the channel and we have to be in Your channel. That is intimacy, that is unity, that is ceasing to be alone because that is oneness.
You came and experienced every aspect of loneliness. I mean, if I thought I was lonely, what about You? You were the only begotten, that means that You were the only one born of Your kind. You are the only One like You. You were unique in every aspect. There had been other only begotten sons, like Isaac, but none like You. You have no equal and You alone can fully reveal God the Father to us. Yes, You are the Unique and Specially Beloved Son. And being that has eternally set You apart.
Being the Only Begotten Son, is why it was so hard for the disciples to get what You were sharing. Because we humans are not unique like You. Now don’t get me wrong. You created each one of us unique. But we are not unique like You. We are so much more like each other than we are like You. So who of us could understand Your heart? Who of us could truly comfort You? Who of us could truly be there to encourage You as much as You needed? And I thought I was lonely?
In my book, compared to everything or anything any person who has been lonely has experienced, You were unique in Your loneliness. Yet at the same time, You were the Answer to fill that loneliness. Because it is only through and in You, that we can live in Your same realm, in the realm of glory that completes You. Not that You need us to complete You, but You invite us into that completeness in You. Because only man can be lonely, not God. God is complete. Man is not.
So You came and demonstrated that You knew what it was like for us to be human. You knew my struggles and my lack of ability to measure up to Your uniqueness. And even though I couldn’t fill the bill, You showed how much You loved me. You came to make me able to fit the bill in You. You came that I could place my life and being in Yours, and be completed in You, and understand You, and join in with Your desires of Your heart and be one with You. And You didn’t just come alongside me, You came to live in me and allow me to live in You. You brought true relationship, deeper than any earthly sibling can have.
So when I come to trust in You, to let go of my own ways and my past, and dive into You, then I enter into Your glorious commandments from the beginning. But I enter in a deeper way. See, at first you told us to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. But now You have taken it to a deeper level that can only be completed in and with You. “Love as I have loved you.” This is the intensity of Your love. This is the unity of Your love. This is the deepness of Your love.
The Only Unique One sacrificed everything for me. You were lonely, misunderstood, ridiculed, spit on, beaten, forsaken, and crucified all for love. You purposefully did that for me, for each of us. And because You did, I don’t have to be lonely another day of my life. In You I will always have relationship and I will have the deepest relationship that exists in all of creation.
And here’s the extra beauty of that relationship in You. That in You, I have brothers and sisters from the same deep, deep bloodline, who are united with me in You more deeply than any physical bond. This is family. This is life. This is love. This is God in Christ Jesus!
Lord, I am so eternally grateful that You loved me first. I’m so appreciative that You understand what it is to be lonely and misunderstood but that You always knew what it was to be united with God and therefore never alone. Yet for one moment, You truly had to experience separation even from Him as You bore every one of our sins and the weight of the full wrath of Your Father. But You did that so I would never have to experience it. I can choose You and give You all of me and experience a one of a kind unity, a one of a kind relationship. I can be part of a one of a kind family, the family of God! I can be so loved by the One who is so loved by the Father and I can love others like You love me.