Maybe I don’t know love at all.

There’s an old song to that effect, and as I sat in Easter services this past weekend, I realized how true it is.

Oh, I love my husband immensely, and I know he loves me. I love my children and my grandchildren so much my heart swells when I think of them. I loved my parents and my brother who’s gone, and I love my remaining brother and sister, my sisters-in-law and my brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews. I can count a good number of friends I can honestly say that I love.

But when I listened again to the description of how Jesus suffered from the beatings and the crucifixion, the reminder that He took the punishment for me–a selfish, easily distracted, prideful sinner–well, I realized that I do not know that kind of love. I don’t understand how–or why–God would offer His Son to be “wounded for our rebellious acts….crushed for our sins….punished so that we could have peace” (Isaiah 53:5, GW).

I cannot fathom the depths of love that would cause Jesus to say, “I give my life of my own free will” (John 10:18, GW), and then to walk that horrible road to Calvary.

The ancient Greeks had several words that are translated as “love” in English. We are most familiar with eros or sexual love, philia or friendship (the basis for the name of the city of Philadelphia), and agape or selfless love. It is that last one we find most difficult, and that is the kind of love that led Jesus to the Cross. It seems impossible to set aside my comfort, my desires, my pride–much less my life–for someone else.

When I think of my own sin-stained soul and how He wiped it clean with His blood, I am overcome. I cannot understand it, I cannot explain it, I can only be grateful for it.

On second thought, I guess I do know Love. His name is Jesus.