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 53:6). The Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and He will be raised on the third day (Matthew 20:18-19). Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends… (John 15:13).
Amazing as it seems, the Son of God sacrificed Himself so we can live. Ours is to believe and receive His sacrifice in faith, living forever with gratitude and loving devotion to Him.
A few years ago, when Helen and I were in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil we visited Christ the Redeemer, a towering monument depicting the Lord Jesus Christ with arms outstretched over the city. It was a reminder to us of our Savior’s sacrifice for the world, and of His beckoning to us all to come to Him.
Christ's invitation extends to all of us, and we must never take it for granted. In faith, we are blessed to come to Him today. And those who learn of His great sacrifice for us, and truly believe it, will want to come near, to love Him, worship Him, serve Him, and be near Him always.
Pastor Bryan Chapell told a story that happened in his hometown. Two brothers were playing on the sandbanks by the river. Running to the top of a large mound of sand, the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to quickly sink. When the boys did not return home for dinner, family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, "Where is your brother?" The child replied, "I’m standing on his shoulders."
With the sacrifice of his own life, the older brother had lifted the younger to safety. The sacrificial love of the older brother served as a foundation for the younger brother’s life. How much more for us. In this Lenten season we are reminded that the sacrifice of God’s Son for me and you on the cross, has lifted us from what was the inevitable and eternal consequence of our sin, which is death. We owe our very life to Jesus Christ; for time, and for eternity. His sacrificial love is freely offered today. His arms are outstretched for us all. We are invited and blessed to receive it in faith today, coming near and staying with Him forever.
For Prayerful Reflection: How has Christ’s sacrifice affected your love and devotion to Him? What will it mean for you today to acknowledge the sacrifice God made for you?