Menno Simons (1496-1561), the Dutch Catholic priest-turned-Anabaptist theologian, was no stranger to persecution, having been declared a heretic and a price put upon his head. Authorities executed friends who were discovered to have sheltered him. Yet, in his commentary on John 3:15-16 he grew nearly ecstatic at the extent of God’s love for us:
For how could God show greater fatherly love to us than so to humble his eternal Wisdom and Truth, his pure, powerful Word, his blessed Son, by whom he created all things; who was like him in form, the image of his blessed being, who diminished himself and became less than the angels, a poor, despised, suffering mortal man or servant, who alone had to bear the trouble, labor, sin, transgression, curse, and death of the whole world. . . . And thus the innocent, the true, the wise, the righteous, the obedient, and the pure Christ Jesus had to expunge, blot out, and satisfy the guilt, falsehood, folly, unrighteousness, disobedience, and pollution of all humankind. Dearest people, have you ever heard of greater love?
A Five-Part Series on Victory over Suffering and Death
Martin Luther, Adam’s Sleep and the Awakening after Death (Genesis 2)
Johann Baumgart, The Disciples Did Not Understand That Life Would Come through Death (Luke 18)
Rudolph Gwalther, Stephen’s Death Teaches Us Faith in Cruel Times (Acts 7)
Jean Daillé, Some Received the Word with Joy but Soon Abandoned It (Philippians 1)