16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Why Did God need to Sacrifice his son?
The death of Jesus was a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the many. The wages of sin are death. Jesus the son offered himself up as a sacrifice for our sins. He took all of our sins upon himself, taking upon himself the punishment that we deserved. Isaiah 53:5-6 makes that plainly clear that Jesus had to be sacrificed, while in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he makes it crystal clear that Jesus chose to take this burden upon himself. It was his act of love, placing us before himself.
This wasn’t merely God offering up an alternative sacrifice. This was Jesus, in the ultimate act of selfless love, willingly taking this burden upon himself.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
What is a Sacrifice?
Well, a sacrifice is something that is given. Humans have been sacrificing to their gods for millennia. Usually, a sacrifice is viewed as a requirement, an obligation, a debt repayment if you will. It was something that was given so that you could keep or receive something else. It was a form of negotiation.
However, God owes us nothing, and God need not give anything in order to keep something else. So, any sacrifice God would make would be a gift pure and simple.
I hate brussels sprouts. If someone were to give me a plate of them, I would think nothing of giving that plate away. Is that a sacrifice?
Of course not.
For something to be a sacrifice, it must be something that you value, something that you don’t want to part with. The more you value it, the greater the sacrifice. Furthermore, loaning something might arguably be a gamble, or a statement of faith, but it isn’t really a sacrifice. To truly sacrifice something, you must give it up. You must leave it behind. You must turn your back and walk away.
So, for God to make a sacrifice for our sins, he would have to give something, or someone who is dear to his heart. The sacrifice would have to hurt. It would have to be a piece of him, a piece of his love, a piece of who he is at his core. It would have to cost him. That is the nature of sacrifice.
What could be more valued by God than his only son? What could hurt God more than this? Is it not obvious that Jesus would be the greatest sacrifice that God could give? Imagine the pain. Imagine how hard it would be for God to turn his back on his son and walk away. Yes, simple logic dictates that this would be the ultimate sacrifice.
“My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Because, to make Jesus a sacrifice, he would have to forsake him. So, God not only made the final and ultimate sacrifice, he taught us what true sacrifice is. It’s not a debt repayment or a nice gift. A sacrifice is a gift of love. A sacrifice hurts. Sometimes, it’s something that you hate to give up, but more than that, it’s always something that you give freely because you care, because you love the person you’re giving it for so much that you are willing to endure whatever it takes for that person.
So long as sacrifices were debt repayments, so long as they were requirements, they could never be what a sacrifice was supposed to be. God made a sacrifice of love, a gift of grace. It was the love and the pain that made it a sacrifice. It was what a sacrifice was always meant to be.
And it was the final and perfect sacrifice for our sins.
Is Jesus Alive, and Why?
The Empty Tomb
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
On the third day, he rose again. Jesus rose from the dead. Hundreds of individuals bore witness to his resurrection,.
And why does this matter?
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Raising Jesus from the dead, ended death’s grip on life. Jesus, the firstborn of those raised from the dead, showed us the way. He is our advocate, our saviour. Though we die, we too shall live. We shall live because he lives and just as importantly, because he loves.
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