By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
There’s just something deeply powerful about sacrifice. It touches something deep in my soul when I hear stories of someone willingly choosing to suffer in some way on behalf of another person.
There is something uniquely good and godly about painfully giving of yourself for someone else. Sacrifice flies in the face of our sin nature which disdains discomfort or pain of any kind and promotes a “me first” mentality always.
We can understand sacrificing something for a loved one. My dad would sometimes skip meals and work extra shifts to make sure his children had food to eat. I will always admire him and thank him for it, but I get that because I’d gladly do the same for my children.
Even hearing stories about people sacrificing for a stranger is something we can almost understand. When a person gives an organ altruistically or makes an anonymous donation to charity, we respect that. It is unfathomable, though, to even think of someone sacrificing anything (even their very life) for someone who despises them and has made themselves perpetually into an enemy. That’s exactly what Jesus did.
“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.”
It makes me shudder just thinking of the shame He endured from all the mocking and jeering from the guards, the crowd, and even from that thief on the cross. That was my shame, He did that for me.
The physical and emotional pain He endured by being beaten, whipped, nailed to the cross, forsaken by the Father. That was my pain, He did that for me. The death He ultimately died on that cross as He yielded His spirit.
That was my death, He did that for me. There is something truly unfathomable about the crucifixion story, this great sacrifice of the Savior. He deserved none of what He endured. I don’t deserve that He would do that for me. His nature is unchanged by saving me, He gains nothing. My nature is made new, I gain everything.
This great sacrifice was not motivated by guilt or compelled by force. Jesus freely chose, on the basis of love, to suffer and die in my place. Such great love, such great sacrifice, it does something to you. The only thing one can do is fall down before King Jesus in adoration and submission.
He has paid the sin debt I owe but never can hope to pay. By His blood it is paid in full. He did not deserve that suffering. I don’t deserve this gift. Oh, what a great Savior! What a marvelous Master! As we focus today on the great sacrifice of our sinless Savior, may our souls be moved by the wonder of this great sacrifice.
May we fall down before Him in worship, crying out, “Worthy is the lamb who was slain!” B&R