Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What If?

A conversation recently got me thinking about Jesus' sacrifice, His death on the cross. I think we have often misunderstood God's heart. As humans, we have projected our own heart states onto Him. We have misjudged Him at times. Take the crucifixion, for example.

What if, by choosing such a horrific sacrifice, God meant to show the amazing extent of His love, not His brutality? By sending His only begotten Son, He was sending part of His very heart, His love. And for Jesus, the Son of God to commit to coming and agree to the sacrificial death required by the Law, He, too was showing His amazing love--a love that gives all for the sake of those who cannot successfully rescue themselves.

Somewhere in God's heart, He desired beings to love and who would voluntarily love Him back. He created humankind to become His family, a people who could choose to believe in Him and His goodness, believers who would become His Son's bride. You were created as a gift from God to His Son. But because we've sinned (everyone has), and because God is holy and pure, a penalty for sin is required. The Bible explains that the life of any living being is in its blood. And blood (or a life) is required to atone for sins. In the Old Testament, animals were offered in place of human lives or every human would have had to die. In the New Testament, a Human was offered once and for all.

This Human was perfect. He never sinned, so his sacrifice was pure enough to pay the full price. And because He was human, His sacrifice was a perfect match for us--a Human dying on behalf of others, rather than a bull or a lamb dying for people. Animals don't have a conscience as humans do. Jesus, as a human was the perfect match. Jesus as God was the perfect expression of God's love. He knew what He was agreeing to--a bloody death because that's what sin required, that's what the Law required. That's God's perfect way.

Personally, I cannot watch portrayals of the crucifixion of Christ. They are too much for me. I agree Jesus' death was horrific. But in His death and resurrection, I see a Hero.

This Hero agreed to die for me.
This Hero rose again so I can could have life without fear of death.
This Hero demonstrated His love so I could know God.
This Hero offered His life in my place, He did something for me I couldn't do for myself.
This Hero offers me a relationship which changes my heart and renews my mind, setting me free.
This Hero walks beside me everyday, guiding me.
This Hero offers the same to whosoever will come.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV)

This Hero loved you and I so much He died a bloody, sacrificial death so you could be His, so you could be free, so you could go to heaven when you die. All you have to do is understand you've sinned, you're lost without Him and you need His gift of salvation. Talk to Him. Tell Him "I've blown it. I'm lost. Please save me. Forgive me for sinning against you. Live inside me. Be my Hero, my Savior. I surrender my own ideas about what truth is and ask You to show me what's true. Help me understand Your Word, the Bible. Give me real life. Let me be born again. I need you."

In answer to why Jesus did what He did, at the Father's request, it was all for love. All for you. What an amazing demonstration of unconditional, accepting, sacrificial love.

"Greater love has no one than this,

than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 (MKJV)

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