Updated: Apr 25, 2021
When I was younger, I remember hearing more Christians refer to the holiday Easter, as Resurrection Sunday. I still sometimes refer to this holiday as Easter, but I find myself using the term Resurrection Sunday more because it really helps me set my mindset on celebrating in a special way with family and friends the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. My past few blogs have been all about the special gifts we hold dear, and with Resurrection Sunday quickly approaching I wanted to write a blog that would help us reflect on the most sacrificial act ever shown to humanity.
The first thing I think about is what it took for God to sacrifice his son, Jesus. In the old testament, we are able to see how many people made difficult sacrifices, and parents who were willing to completely surrender the destiny of their child to God. I think the most famous example is Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. Samson’s mother chose to never cut his hair as a sign that she dedicated him to God. Hannah’s story is another favorite of mine. She struggled with fertility, yet still completely gave her son, Samuel over for God’s greater purpose. Now when someone gives me a gift, I’m not looking to give it back, but these story’s show clearly the amount of reverence these Biblical figures had for God and their understanding of his sovereignty. These individuals trusted God fully, and so I have to ask myself if I trust God enough to totally put everything he’s given me in his hands because he can do something far greater with it than what I could ever imagine.
So, as I reflect on the cross, I think of all that was given up for me to live a life that is greater than chasing after my own desires and ideas. I do believe that it is beautiful to keep dreaming and dream big, but my faith tells me that I need to surrender all that I’m going after to God. There is so much that I want out of life, but Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” I must surrender to the greater vision God has for my life even if it is not what I had in mind. Isaiah 55: 8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways, my ways declares the Lord.” These scriptures inspire me to put all my dreams in God’s hands where they will materialize into something, and where God can reveal to me what he thinks about my pursuits. I’m so relieved that God looked down at this broken world, and looked ahead at me with compassion even before I was born (Psalm 139: 16) and saw that I would need a greater purpose to live. This purpose and meaning for life come through the sacrifice of God’s son Jesus Christ.
I’m humbled by Jesus’s obedience and willingness to live and die so selflessly. He built his ministry healing people, teaching his disciples, and challenging the leaders as well as the religious and cultural ideals of his era. Jesus walked in obedience to his heavenly Father knowing the whole time that he was going to have to face death on the cross. I grew up learning about Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned that it wasn’t just the torture that Jesus would have to endure or dying such an excruciating death that was most painful, but from what I’ve gathered from the scriptures is that one of the most painful parts about Jesus’s suffering is taking on the sins of the entire world, and as a result being separated from his heavenly Father. When I came to this realization my heart was deeply humbled from learning something new that I thought I already had a deep enough understanding of and seeing how my sin caused Jesus to have to give up everything.
There are so many who have been and continue to be persecuted for the gospel of Christ. We can read about martyrs from history. Even today people are dying for the sake of Christ, and their brave example should be followed, but I have to also recognize that no one will ever feel the weight of the sins of the entire world, and be forced to be separated from God because of this sacrifice. To me, this is what makes Jesus’s death and love so much more intense and incomparable to anything else anyone could ever suffer. Matthew 27:46 says, About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). I remember learning about this aspect of Jesus’s death on the cross so clearly and being so humbled by what God revealed to me through the scripture. I was taught about the connection between Matthew 47:6 and Isaiah 59: 2 which reads, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” From my understanding of the scriptures, the reason God had forsaken Jesus was because the sins of the world separated God from Jesus. This is a very complicated concept, but I can imagine how God would for that moment have to separate himself from his son because of the world's sin he was bearing. When this was shared with me, new and fresh gratitude was placed in my heart for the same story I had been told all my life. I understood that Jesus shed his blood for my sins, but being told my sins separated Jesus from God gave the gospel deeper value to my life.
God sacrificed his only son, Jesus knowing how much pain his son was going to suffer. Jesus chose to leave his perfect Kingdom in heaven where there was no pain, to experience the heartache of this world as a human. As he died on the cross, he chose to experience separation from his heavenly Father. I don't want to even imagine how scary it would be to be completely separated from God at any moment, yet even though he was closest to his Father, Jesus was willing to give up all he had, and that came with being the son of God, to die and rise again so that I and the entire world could be saved. I’m not just saved so I can go to heaven, but salvation has given me a greater purpose for living life here on this Earth. Salvation allows me to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. When I was a middle school student, one of my teachers required her classes to resight Galatians 2:20 every day. Today, I encourage you to meditate on this scripture and carry it with you as we approach Resurrection Sunday and all throughout the year.
King James Version
“I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
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