In case you hadn’t heard, there is a young British playwright named William Shakespeare who has posthumously teamed up with the director from Downton Abbey to bring us the latest and perhaps greatest version of Romeo and Juliet.
If you’re like me, you were beyond done with this tragic tale after dissecting it to death (no pun intended) in the academic rigors of freshmen English class. But surprise! This R and J redux deserves a second look.
Anyway, Taylor Swift liked it, like, sooooo much, because her BFF Hailee Steinfeld plays Juliet!!!
But, I digress…never mind Taylor. Instead, think for a minute with me about why forbidden love tales and perilous romances make for such great drama—after all, the film’s subtext is “the most dangerous love story ever told.”
Why do stories like this retain their relevance across the centuries? Because every guy hopes for his *love at first sight* Juliet, and every girl dreams of being swept off her feet by the local (sigh) RPats clone. And we all long for a special someone whose love for us is so passionate that they simply can’t live without us!
But is Romeo and Juliet really the most dangerous love story ever told? I think not! THE most dangerous love story is actually contained, not in a famous play, but in a famous verse from God’s Word:
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Picture this opening scene on the grand stage of the universe. The infinite and eternal God of the universe created us humans. And it was love at first sight…But we strayed and turned away from God.
Yet, though we humans sinned and rejected the Maker of our souls, He relentlessly pursued us. But because of the depth of our rebellion, a sacrifice had to be made to purchase us back from our destiny of destruction.
And that’s when His love became dangerous…
You see, God’s love went way beyond emotion and temporary attraction based on changing circumstances. His unconditional commitment to us required that our Heavenly Father sacrifice His own Son to heal the broken relationship we created. The moment we sinned and condemned ourselves to an eternity separated from God, was the moment that God’s love for us put His own Son in danger. His death was the only way we could be forgiven, so despite the peril Jesus faced, He came to earth and not only faced up to His execution, but conquered death through His resurrection.
Think for a moment of the person you love most in this world being nailed to a cross…I can’t imagine a more gut wrenching scene, and yet this is the picture of God’s love for us.
That’s why the Bible also describes Jesus’ actions in this way:
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:6-8.)
When I think of Romeo and Juliet, I am intrigued by their fearless commitment to their love for each other, and I am heartbroken when all their efforts ultimately fail.
But doesn’t your heart simply leap for joy when you reflect on God’s enduring, unchanging commitment to us? There is no need for heartbreak on the stage of reality, because there is nothing you can do to make God love you less, and there is nothing you can do to make God love you more!
He loved us before the foundations of the world…
He has craved our names on the palms of His hands…
His unconditional love is stronger than death!
Stories like Romeo and Juliet endure through the years because there is a longing in every human heart to know and experience the kind of love that lasts forever. Songwriters and playwrights compose music and stories that attempt to satiate this longing in our imagination, but the truth of God’s love is the only true fulfillment of our desires.
There is no danger in accepting the free gift of God’s love for us, so let’s go out with confidence and passion and share the most unconditional love story ever told—the gospel!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
This week, reflect on God’s love for you and remember that the greatest love you can show to others is the sacrificial kind that He showed for us when He sent Jesus to die for us. Look for people who desperately need to know this truth and be faithful to your calling to reach your friends with Jesus’ message of love and grace.
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father, let us never grow tired of hearing about Your love for us. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for us, and may we take that love and die to ourselves as we share the gospel with our friend
Read: John 15:13. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Get: Falling Plates. Use this powerful, engaging video to share the gospel with your friends this week!
Discussion Questions for Leaders:
Big Idea: Romeo and Juliet is a reminder to us that God’s love is unconditional and cost Him the life of His Son Jesus.
Key Scripture: John 3:16
- Why is Romeo and Juliet so popular after all these years?
- How does this story remind you of what Jesus did?
- How does God’s unconditional love impact you personally?
- How can you use this Soul Fuel to further THE Cause of Christ and spread His message?