The LORD your God…will be quiet over you in His love….
(Zephaniah 3:17, my translation1)
From Christ is Everything to His Followers; Belhaven University (OT & NT Survey); Bible in 90 Days; other teaching, training, counseling, and prison work.
An Illustration of Quiet Love
Imagine a surgeon named Dolan, telling of a young woman he operated on. After she awakes from surgery, she and her husband hold hands and look at each other lovingly, silently. No words are needed. She’s happy to be alive and he’s overjoyed to have her back.
The wife asks Dolan, “Will my mouth always be crooked this way?” He says, “Yes, I’m afraid so. The tiny facial nerve, the one to the muscles of your mouth, has been severed. To remove the tumor in your cheek, I had to cut the nerve.” She nods sadly, but her husband smiles and says, “I like it. It’s cute.” They go back to gazing at each other lovingly, silently, gladly, gratefully. They ignore Dolan, focusing only on one another, as if they are the only two people in the universe.
The surgeon steps back and thinks, “I must be in the presence of a god.” Dolan sees a unique bond between them and wonders, “How can he love this funny looking woman?” The husband bends to kiss his wife’s crooked mouth and twists his own lips to accommodate hers. He shows her that their kiss still works. He still loves her more than he can tell.2
Christ’s Greater Love for Unlovely Ones
Dolan’s story reminds us how God the Son came down from Heaven to love and to save His Bride, His Church, His people, His friends, His followers. We were not a pretty sight. Christ adopted and brought us up, but we rebelled against Him. We were sinful, loaded with guilt, evil, corrupt, rejecting the Lord. We despised God and turned our backs on Him. We were estranged from God, spiritually unhealthy from head to toe. Bruised, sore, and infected in our wrongs.3 And even after He saves us, we still tend to wander and leave the Lord.4 But Christ loved us just as we were! And Jesus gave Himself for us and saved us, despite our unattractiveness to Him. That’s the highest love—sheer, sovereign, saving grace!
God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more shall we be saved through His life!5
The Holy Spirit says in Zephaniah: Christ will be quiet over you in His love. Silence expresses the Lord’s deepest affection for you, His followers. He’s so absorbed with you, Christians, so happy, so content, so accepting of you that He chooses not to speak sometimes. Hyperbolically, Jesus says it’s as if He stammers and stutters because He can’t say how much He loves you.6
Remember that Christ, though completely innocent, was silent as He was tried and mocked before the unbelieving Jews, Herod, and Pilate. He was quiet as He endured the curse, shame, and agony of Calvary’s cross.7 God expressed His unspeakable love with His unspeakable gift of Christ!8 The Lord loves you, Christian, so much so that He is restfully silent over you! Jesus adores you with a quiet, contented, indescribable, inexpressible love! Too wonderful for words!
Lord Jesus, we love and trust you, but as we follow you, we are painfully aware of how much we still sin and stumble, how feeble and frail we are as your little brothers and sisters. Help us to grasp how wide and long and high and deep your love is for us. Help us to be overwhelmed by your love for us. Remind us that even when we pass through the waters and flames of trouble, you will be with us. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we can fear no evil, because you are with us and comfort us. Teach us to love you more and to treat other people as you treat us. Help us to rest in your love with the simple trusting heart of your children. We pray in your name. Amen.
Go in peace, beloved. Walk with King Jesus today and be a blessing to others!
Notes: 1 I follow O. Palmer Robertson in this. 2 Dolan story adapted from: Mortal Lessons, Notes on the Art of Surgery by Richard Selzer. 3 Isaiah 1:4-6 NLT. 4 see “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson (1757). 5 Rom 5:8-10. 6 Paraphrase of Calvin’s commentary on this passage. 7 Jesus hung on the cross for six hours and was silent for the first three hours. 8 2 Cor 9:15.
For other Scriptures on Jesus’ Quiet Love see: Isaiah 42:2 (quoted in Matt 12:19); Isaiah 53:7 (quoted in Acts 8:32); Matt 26:63;27:12,14; John 19:9.