Just two months ago we were preparing to celebrate Christmas, and now we find ourselves only five weeks away from Easter! Time does, indeed, fly. As I reflected on the short span of time between Christmas and Easter, I began to see the similarity between these two days of celebration – they are both all about Jesus. While retailers would lead you to believe these days are all about spending money on yourself and others as a method of demonstrating your love for them, the truth is they have nothing to do with money. However, the retailers did get one thing right, they are about demonstrating love for people. The Creator and leading Man of both Christmas and Easter showed us just exactly how to demonstrate love for others.
Jesus voluntarily left His home in the Heavenly Realm to come to earth as a human baby where He would eventually be chided, ridiculed, threatened, beaten, humiliated and then hung on a Cross to die the cruelest death known to man. Doesn’t sound like a very fair trade to me. Luckily for us, Jesus wasn’t interested in “fair.” He was interested in “forgiveness.” The Righteousness of God demanded that a blood sacrifice be made to atone for Mans’ sins and reconcile us to a Holy God. Jesus volunteered to be that sacrifice and He did so Joyfully. Nowhere in Scripture is Jesus portrayed as being “bitter” or angry about His lot in life. Never does He throw a pity party or complain about the unfairness of His suffering for others. Jesus simply joyfully sacrifices Himself so that we, who deserve only condemnation, can receive forgiveness, redemption and eternal life in Heaven with God. That is a Joyful Sacrifice.
The next time you are asked to “sacrifice” something to promote the Kingdom of God or just to help out a fellow human being, think about the greatest sacrifice ever made and give of yourself joyfully and with a glad heart KNOWING that God will provide your reward.
-Pastor Dave Jones