Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for this friends. (John 15:13)
What happens when a 6 ft, 185-pound 16 year old (Ben) and a 4-ft-something, 75-pound 9 year old (we’ll call him Little Joe) try to occupy the same space on a ski slope simultaneously? Read on…Ben was slaloming back and forth down the icy hill, nearing the bottom. Out of nowhere — and out of control — came Little Joe. He was barreling across on a collision course with Ben, who was suddenly faced with the impossibility of stopping on ice. In a split second, Ben had to choose: self-preservation or self-sacrifice. He made his choice, changed his own course and crashed straight into a bank of ice. Glasses shattered. Bones broke. Blood flowed. Ben was laid on a stretcher and taken down the hill. Little Joe was oblivious. Whether or not he knew what had transpired, he continued on at breakneck speed to his final destination — paying no attention to the sacrifice that had just been made on his behalf. At the end of the day, Ben was left bruised, swollen, in pain and with a broken nose. For days his eye was swollen completely shut. For weeks he dealt with pain. Today he still bears a scar. Ben put his own life on the line for Little Joe, whom he didn’t even know.
Thankfully this did not turn out to be the ultimate sacrifice. But there was One 2,000 years ago who did make the ultimate sacrifice. In a moment of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ had that same choice: self-preservation or self-sacrifice. As perfect man and perfect God, He was the only One in all eternity who could fully pay the price with His life for the sins of mankind. Without His sacrifice, His human body would be spared, but all humanity would be forever condemned to suffering and separation from a loving God. With His sacrifice, His own flesh would be torn, but so would the temple curtain that symbolically separated the people from the Presence of God.
Jesus chose to lay down His life for us. He, too, was bruised and bloody — left nailed to a cross. After His death, His scarred and swollen body was taken down the hill of Golgotha and laid in a tomb. A few mourned His death, but many — like Little Joe — hurried on to wherever they were going, paying little attention to the sacrifice that had just been made on their behalf.
Yet the story doesn’t end there. Three days after Jesus died, He proved His deity and His power over death — appearing to over 500 people in a new glorified body. He was alive! His one sacrifice was accepted for the sins of all. His death made a way to God the Father for all who accept it today. This is why we can say,”HAPPY Easter!”
Have you embraced this great Love who laid down His life for you? Or are you hurrying about your busy schedule paying little attention to the sacrifice that has been made on your behalf?
Easter is a wonderful time to decide to love Jesus back for loving us first. He loved us with all His life. He only asks us to love Him with all our heart.