A Story Of Sacrificial Love

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour because the sun was obscured and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. – Luke 23:44-46

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. – Luke 24:1-3

The story of the love begins with a Father and His Son Jesus. Both actively participated in creating a beautiful world and all that was in it. Man and woman were made, shaped and molded from their loving hands. Never was there a potter who took such pride in His work and care in crafting a creation that would reflect His image.

The Son loved His Father and the Father loved His Son. Together, they loved all they created including mankind and they called it good. Everything was good and everything was perfect. The communion between God and His best creation was harmonious and day and night Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman would enjoy a loving relationship with their Maker but also with each other. Somewhere, a left turn. Eve believed a lie from the one who hated God most and wanted to take his place. Yet, since Satan could not take God’s seat at the throne of Heaven, he would attack and seek to destroy what God loved most: His first human son and daughter and all the generations to come. In disobedience to God’s word, from one man and one woman came sin into our world, destroying the perfect harmony between God and mankind and the entire world was cursed with the effects of sin. Suddenly Adam and Eve’s relationship with each other was also tainted, their relationship with the earth and all it provided. Nature was never the same.

As the years and centuries went by, the world continued to walk in a path of sin, cursed with a curse, enslaved to a master who only sought its destruction. With sin came sickness, pain, sorrow, depression, much temptation, fear, chaos and so much more. All we need to do is look around us to see its effect from broken homes, marriages, relationships, families, and disasters of all kinds, we see and feel the effects of sin. Creation groans continually. Yet, as sin continued to increase, the Father’s love continued for His sons and daughters and He longed to be reconciled to them. The Son always united with His Father in love could see the desire of the Father and He knew that only one thing, only one sacrifice could redeem all that was lost and reverse the curse of sin. Only one action could bring the Father into a perfect communion with His children again. This sacrifice needed to be perfect and only One was perfect, Jesus Christ.

Having made up His mind that He would save the world, He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice needed. He left His throne at the right hand of the Father, came as a lowly child, born of a virgin young lady named Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit and lived among us.

From the very beginning, Jesus knew His purpose on the earth. He was there to be about His Father’s affairs and His mission was to save the world. The only way to do so was to die a gruesome death; after all, “all things [could only be] cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9: 22) As one man, Adam, brought sin into the world causing death to reign, by one man also, Jesus, we would receive an abundance of grace, the gift of righteousness, salvation, and eternal life. But oh what a great cost! What a painful price to pay for a man who never did wrong, who was without sin, yet chose to carry the sin of the world on His shoulders. While we were yet sinners, weak and helpless to save ourselves, unable to change or break the chains of sin and death holding us in bondage, Jesus took it upon Himself to pay the ransom that would set us free. He purchased our freedom at great personal cost yet He did it with love immeasurable.

 

4Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he 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.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

-Isaiah 53:4-6

Pierced, bruised, crushed… this was the fate of Jesus Christ on the cross. In anguish of pain, He felt abandoned by the Father yet sought His forgiveness on our behalf. Can you only imagine? As men stood before the cross, they mocked the Lord and ridiculed Him for not being able to save Himself yet unaware that He was actually saving them in this way. It’s easy to judge these men as they mocked but they represent all of us, you and me, as we too used to stand before the cross and not see its splendor or be led to our knees. We too like sheep had gone astray and turned from the Father. So why would God allow His Son to die for us? Sinners, adulterers, murderers, liars, jealous men and women, cheaters and more.

16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 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

Love!

Love was God’s motive to allow His Son to die for humanity, for you and me.

Love sent His Son to the cross. And it is love that brought us home, into the arms of the Father.

Love that brought us back to life. Love that saved us.  Love that purchased our freedom.

Love that made us whole once more.

So if you ever question yourself, wondering if anyone ever loved or will ever love you, just turn to the cross, it is the greatest evidence of love that you will ever find.

Today, if you hear God’s voice, do not turn away from Him. As Jesus breathed his last breath and exhaled the words “It is finished”, He brought an end to sin, an end to shame, guilt, death, fear, and bondage. This happened as Jesus’ blood trickled down His body and down the cross. His blood covered all your mistakes, all your sins and has set you free. Truly it did! You were on God’s mind and Jesus’ heart as He endured the grief and pain of the cross. He took no shortcut though he could have. Refused the sour wine given to Him to ease His pain, He accepted the full burden and heaviness of the cross to seal your faith in paradise should you choose to believe in Him. No shortcut into death would lead to the most glorious victory we’ll ever know. There on the cross, Jesus was forsaken by the Father so you will never have to be. (Isaiah 53:6b, Psalm 22:1-2)

While this was the worst crime that men could commit to crucify the Lord, the cross was not the end but rather a beginning. The cross was the end of sin but the beginning of life.

The cross and the grave buried our King and swallowed our sins but at the end of three days, Jesus rose from the chains of death, seized the keys of hell and overcame for eternity. His resurrection was the overwhelming evidence that we are now free, yes, free indeed.

As we have been buried in Christ’s death and share in His suffering, we also have been made alive through His resurrection.  No one had ever trampled over death before. No one had ever come out more glorious. His victory shut the mouth of the enemy forever, proving that God is indeed good and loves His children unconditionally. His victory is now our victory.

The cross would mean nothing had Jesus not been raised from the dead. Yet no victory of resurrection could take place without first Jesus becoming the lamb that would be sacrificed once and for all eternity.

Today, you share in Christ’s victory. Today, you are more than a conqueror because Jesus first loved you and gave His life in exchange for yours. He paid the debt humanity owed. He paid your debt as your sins nailed Him to the cross but because He now lives, you can stand before the throne of grace justified through your Lord and Savior. We can raise a hallelujah in honor of His name and His victory. Still, take a look at the cross, it has an unusual beauty as it radiates. It was dark and gloomy on that day of preparation as Jesus hung on it but today, it radiates and can bring even the worst of sinners down to his knees broken and in tears. The cross was my beginning. What about you?

On this beautiful and special Easter weekend, I encourage you to meditate and consider the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. Then, praise Him for it and glory in His victory.

THE TOMB IS NOW AN EMPTY GRAVE. HE IS RISEN!

In light of COVID-19

Friend, Jesus’s victory could not have taken place without great suffering. As I encourage you to stand in His victory, knowing that you will overtake this season because Jesus overcame the greatest trial of all time past, present or to come, I also remind you that we will still share in His suffering. Philippians 3:10-11 reminds us that we will know the power of His resurrection yet also share in the fellowship of His sufferings. Don’t seek a shortcut out of your suffering but seek God’s will as Jesus sought His Father’s will, yet knowing that you are already victorious come what may. Your victory does not depend on whether you can make it through the trial. It depends on Jesus’ victory and strength. Remember, every stronghold has to bow before the Savior and when we get to Heaven, there’s a crown of glory waiting for you.(James 1:12) The Lord of armies has all the armor you need for you to win, trust, have faith, and stand firm in this situation. 

Dig Deeper with these scriptures

Matthew 27:1-28:20

Ephesians 2: 1-10

Revelation 21:1-7

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