Bishop Michael Curry delivered a soul-stirring sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan. The BBC estimates that nearly 2 billion people tuned in to watch the ceremony. If you have not heard the 13-minute message, listen here or read the transcript (but you should listen because that man can preach!).
In his address, Bishop Curry masterfully captured the essence of love and the way we experience it. He helped all in attendance to understand that the reason love is so powerful is that it finds its source in God Himself. Quoting 1 John 4:4-8, He explained “God is love.”
He roused our hope by helping us imagine a world where love pervaded all—
“When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history.”
His message of God’s love was hopeful and almost wonderful.
I say almost wonderful not because I could find any flaw in his presentation, but because there was an essential truth absent from his message—why Jesus really died.
At the pinnacle of his sermon the Bishop said of Jesus, “He didn’t sacrifice his life for himself, or anything he could get out of it, He did it for others, for the other, for the good and well being of others. That’s love.”
Jesus would say that the Bishop told the truth, but not the whole truth. And the part he left out is essential to understand what love really is.
Romans 5:8“God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 Peter 3:18 “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”
Isaiah 53:5“[Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
Jesus didn’t die just to give us an example of love; He died to forgive our sins.
If we’re going to talk about love, we must talk about true love—that the sinless Son of God died a gruesome death to take the judgment sinners like you, me, Bishop Curry, the Prince and Princess, and everyone else watching deserved.
Jesus did not die to warm our hearts or inspire us to feel love toward others. Jesus died because we did not love God and are destined to an eternity apart from Him in judgment.
The Scriptures tell us, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
This is good news, but it is not the only news…
“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).
Jesus would say that you could be moved by the Bishop’s message about love, but if it does not lead you to confess and repent of your sin and cling to Jesus by faith alone—the judgment of God rests upon you.
Some may suggest what I’ve written is the exact opposite of the love the Bishop was calling us to celebrate. But that’s just not true. True love tells the whole truth, and that is what Jesus came to do. He came to show us love by dying for the sins that keep us away from God’s love.
The Bishop preached what may be one of the most broadly viewed sermons in history. He did it in a compelling way. But the heart of what Jesus did was omitted. Jesus did show love, but a particular kind of love—sinner-saving, God-magnifying love.
Some will surely be frustrated that I would give a critique of a moving message on such a historic occasion. I get it, but here’s the deal—there is nothing more important than rightly understanding what God’s love is really all about.
If you were moved by what the Bishop said about love, you should be. But Jesus would say the bishop left out the best part. Jesus’ love is seen at the cross where He died for people who do not deserve it. He then rose from the dead and calls former rebels to become His bride who know His love and show His love to all people.
And the news gets better! There is a fast approaching Day when Jesus will return to take His beloved bride to Himself and celebrate a great wedding feast in heaven with her. Today He has given good news that if you will turn from the sin He died for, you will be invited to that Royal Wedding in glory—not as a guest, but as the bride.
Now that’s true love.
May God bless the Prince and Princess in their new marriage and all the days He gives them together. And may He help us all to forever delight in His amazing love.