April 7, 2021
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
How do you know if you really believe something? It’s usually pretty easy to grasp a concept in our heads and to proclaim we believe it, but to own that concept in our hearts? To let that concept impact and shape our lives? That is another matter!
It is on Good Friday and Easter when we most commonly remember the fact that Jesus laid down His life for us. Yet… Do we really believe He did that? Does His sacrifice change our lives at all? What would it mean if everything the Bible tells us about Jesus is really true?
For much of my Christian life, Jesus’ death on my behalf was mostly a head concept. That idea moved me emotionally now and then; briefly, fleetingly. And yes, it changed some of my behavior, some of the time. But it was most often a head concept to me, something to rationally acknowledge, something to agree with. It never truly took a deeper hold in my life until God gave me the following picture.
Imagine yourself and one other person in a small boat on dangerous, stormy waters. You dislike this other passenger intensely; your hatred based upon reasons you believe are valid and quite reasonable. Yet despite your hatred, this other person is still willing to ride along in the boat with you (which quietly bugs you even more).
Let’s say now you fall overboard in the storm and you thrash about in terror, realizing you are about to drown… when your despised companion reaches out and rescues you. How would you feel about him then? How would you deal with your dislike now?
What if this person had to jump overboard to save you, joining you in dangerous waters, holding your head up while you scratched and clawed in panic? Finally, after great effort your companion is able to push you back into the boat to safety, where you gather yourself, coughing out water, struggling, heaving, but utterly grateful for sufficient air while you slowly regain your composure.
And when you looked back… what if your companion was now gone? What if he willingly drowned and gave up his own life while saving yours, you who despised him?
Seriously… how would you feel? What do you do with such a sacrifice on your behalf?
Jesus, the God of the Universe, the Creator of Everything, allowed Himself to be viciously whipped, mocked, clubbed, spit upon and nailed naked to a post of wood for hours until He died… all because He loved us.
Is Jesus’ sacrifice just a concept to you? Or do you know it in your heart? How has God’s amazing sacrificial love changed your life? During this wonderful Easter season, let’s ask God today to give us a fresh understanding of all He’s done for us!