Jesus rose from the dead, proving to all that death is simply a transformation in our lives. But to rise from the dead, He first had to suffer for hours upon hours as He was subject to die a slow, tortuous death. He was flogged, having the flesh ripped away from His back, exposing a huge area of raw nerves. Onto those exposed nerves, a heavy rugged log was placed as he carried the load of his own destruction up hill on his back. At the top of that hill, nails were driven into his hands and feet adding another 3 hours of excruciation to excruciation. What we must remember is the fact that Jesus did all of this voluntarily (John 10:17-18). The obvious question is “Why?”
Of course, our Father in Heaven wants to gather us to Himself for a glorious homecoming, complete with banquets and an infinite supply of other rewards. Like any of our human parents, God wants us to enjoy the very best of everything He has. And, like any parent, more than simply showering us with eternal rewards, He desires intimacy between Himself and each and every one of His kids. Every one of us matters to Him equally – He has no favorites.
That God proved His love for you is the understatement of time eternal. The question isn’t “Does God want intimacy with me?”, but rather, “Do I want intimacy with Him?” If we go seeking the rewards, we’re no better than “Uncle Larry” – you know – the relative who only shows up to reunions when he needs help. Larry seeks the benefit of intimacy with no regard for intimacy. Larry has this whole family thing backward. Larry underestimates the love and benevolence his family. What he fails to realize is that if he sought intimacy with his family, each member would be able to recognize his need and would bend over backward to help him out.