Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sacrifice

Last night (Monday) our Ladies' class watched The Passion of the Christ. I had seen it once and honestly did not plan to watch again as it was so graphic and heart-wrenching. Now I'm not promoting the movie or even trying to critique it. But it really got to me and has occupied my mind a lot.



What kept going through my head was "Why?" It's a question that bothered me a lot years ago while I was going through a questioning/testing period in my faith. How could this physical pain and suffering atone for the spiritual evil in man? Why did it have to be this way?



The answer to the question "why" is simple: love. And two other things put me on a path to understanding the sacrifice of Jesus. One is that he had to suffer any and everything his followers would suffer, and we know about the great persecution that many endured in the early days of Christianity. The other thing that convinces me is this. God is good. There cannot be anything evil about Him or He ceases to be God. But for us to be with Him sin must be eradicated- killed. And this is what Christ took with Him to the cross. I still find it hard to comprehend how sin was transferred to Jesus on the cross, but I do understand why.

6 comments:

Jamison said...

i sometimes feel unworthy of grace simply because we suffer little or not at all now for our belief in Christ. We consider it a blessing that we live in a country where we are free to worship without persecution, but is it a blessing? Has it made us all weaker/soft?

bigsip said...

I sort of look at it a little differently.

We are given so many blesings, but to he whom much is given, much is required.

God has blessed us for a reason. But, all of these blessings make it harder to live "The Life".

We are all rich people in this world and it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle thna for any of us to enter the Kingdom (the church).

But, Jesus says that what is impossible with man is possible with God. God uses us to spread His blessings to humanity. He makes us clean through patience, humility, kindness, and goodness found through the cleansinng of our souls through Jesus and the purging of our evil desires through concentration on His Word.

Therefore, we're called to make our lives a daily sacrifice.

But, to me, what it comes back to is the fact that if you look at persecution today and try in any way to compare it physically to what they endured back then, you'll come up very short.

In China, probably the most reticent country other than Middle Eastern countries to accept Christianity, you might get a slap on the wrist and told to leave at least or be arrested at worst.

They won't tie you to a post and let lions or bears eat you alive or burn you alive on a cross.

Persecution for Jesus, then isn't the life or death matter it once was. However, being spiritual soldiers is even more important now since so many people are so comfortable. Most people, especially here, have NO reason to come to God, at least in their minds. They're comfortable and "in charge" of their own "destiny".

How do you convince people in the world that they need God? There's our challenge today folks!

Rachel said...

Ok so changing track a little bit, here is something that often bugs me, and it may sound like flat-out sacrilige. I have heard people say Christ died the death that they personally deserved. Now don't get me wrong, I know we're all sinners. But how many funerals have you gone to where you think, "Yeah, this guy led a life that was so bad he needed to die a horrible death on a cross." Somehow I feel that Christ's death was so horrific because it was for our collective sins.

bigsip said...

I can agree with that.

We've heard time and time again that Christ died "once for all" and "took on the sins of the whole world."

That means that Christ took on the little white lies and the murders. He took on the sins of the child molester and the drug addict.

Just think of every awful, disgusting sin ever commited and that's what Jesus took on.

That's wwhy God couldn't look at Him on the cross. It turned dark and Jesus said the famous "Eloi Eloi..." My God, my God why have you forsaken me statement.

Jesus went through Hell for us so we don't have to.

I'm just glad that my sins are forgiven, no matter what.

Brewster said...

I heard a guy talk once who talked about the sacrifice of Jesus being more spiritual than physical. He talked about how he had a son who was mentally handicapped, but that he would endure the most intense physical pain if it meant his child would have normal capabilities.

He said he'd have a 6 hour long brain surgery in a heart beat for that boy.

If we think about it I suspect we would do the same for our loved ones.

His point wasn't to knock the physical suffering of Christ, but that this may not have been what made christ literally sweat blood in the garden over it.

When Christ took our sins, he lost contact with God. God could no longer be there for Jesus, as He is perfect, and Jesus now had the sin of the world upon his shoulders.

That is the true sacrifice.

While I will agree that the weight of all of our sins bore down upon Jesus, and that must have been a lot. Even the simplest, or whitest sins remove us from God. THat little white lie seperates us from God and thus nails Jesus to the cross.

bigsip said...

Rachel and I were talking about this discussion last night and she said that what she really wanted to know was HOW our sin and ALL sin was transferred to Jesus.

I told her I needed to think about it and then I'd respond on here.

Fact is, we can't fully understand it, but there is a way to sort of explain how God accompished this feat.

First, we have to look at how God "took care of sin" in the OT.

I say "took care of" because sin was not forgiven in the OT under mosaical law.

Consider Hebrews 9: 11-14

But Christ having come as a high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh: how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The blood of animals was sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenent 1 day each year to atone for or "roll forward" the sins of the Israelites. In other words, the animal sacfrifices only put off the sins of people instead of wiping them clean.

But, when Jesus gave himself on the cross, his blood "rolled back" and covered the sins of all those in the past and also covers those under his kingdom today.

1 John 2:2 says:

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Propitiation means "what was required". In other words, Jesus self-sacrifice, perfect life, and blood were the ONLY thing that could cover the sins of mankind.

Think of what a responsibility he felt. Amazing!

Also, John 4:9-10

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Love conquered sin. That's really what it comes down to. God is Love and He won the victory for us!

I don't know if this helped or not, but I was mainly writing this for Rachel anyway.

Hope it made sense!