Philemon 12, I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.
Let me tell you a short parable: A mother gently lays her hand on her son’s clean-shaven cheek. She takes a hair off his cap, straightens his shirt a little bit, and as her fingers accidentally brush against the orders in his hand, she frowns. Her son kisses her cheek, steps out the door, turns around, and salutes her. The only thing she can manage to say is, “Please come home safe.” The mother’s love for him is mixed with her love for the people her son is going to serve. So she sends him off to war, knowing he might not return. She sends her son, her very heart, to sacrifice his life.
Paul’s love for Onesimus in the book of Philemon is a great example of God’s love for us. If you’re interested, I talk more about this kind of Christian love in my article with Geeks Under Grace, What is Christian Love? God the Father sees the needs of His people. We needed to be saved from our sin. Either that, or we perish in it. There was only one way in which God could rescue His people, so He sent His Son, His very heart. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17).
And thus, through Christ’s atonement on the cross, we have been rescued. Christ was sent for us, completely undeserving of such an enormous sacrifice, and yet Christ, knowing what would happen, did it anyway. He was sent off to war against sin and the Devil, He died for God’s people, and He returned Home anyway and so by His life, death, and resurrection we, too, shall return Home (see Romans 6:1-5, 10-11). People often say, “If God is all-powerful, why won’t He do everything He can to make me believe?” He did, and we killed Him for it. We crucified God’s very heart.