The Greatest Sacrifice

My Post (35)If there is one thing that is sure, it is this – The word loneliness strikes a chord in all of our hearts of unpleasant feelings and memories. Memories of separation from a loved one; memories of the death of a precious one; memories of rejection by a beloved one; memories of lack of acceptance by someone important to us… Loneliness has been described as the most desolate word in the English language. Loneliness is no respecter of age, race, social status, or intelligence. It was Albert Einstein who once said:

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.”

We are more connected with social media than ever before, and yet people are growing lonely in such a way that it is becoming an epidemic. There are some people who are alone, but they are not lonely. And there are others who are surrounded by myriads of people, and yet, are desperately lonely. We all have at one point experienced different kind of loneliness, but there are basically two kinds of loneliness, both totally different from each other. There is the loneliness that is experienced by those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is a different kind of loneliness that can only be experienced only by those who know and love the Lord Jesus. The loneliness that is experienced by believers often comes from:

  • Knowing we are only sojourners and travellers in this world
  • Longing to be home with our Father in Heaven.
  • Wanting to fully obey the Lord Jesus Christ, but experiencing discouragement from people.
  • Wanting to stand up for Jesus and be counted, and yet fearing the alienation that this brings about.
  • Resisting the relentless temptation of sin and Satan day in and day out.
  • Been torn between loving Jesus and loving the world.

When the Bible talks about the world, when John particularly (in 1 John 2:15-16) talks about the world, he is talking about the world’s system, which is anything that is contrary to the word of God, the nature of God, or the character of God. John tells us that the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life is of the world. In other words, it is the craving, grabbing and the bragging (greed, covetousness, and pride).

When God loves the world, it is out of compassion so to redeem all His children out of the world and save them from their sins, but when we love the world, it is because we love the sin that is in the world. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). There is no more powerful delusion than self-delusion. We all can delude ourselves, and that is why we all need accountability in the Christian walk. If it was sin that held our Saviour on the cross, we have no business playing with the very dagger that killed our Saviour. Every drop of blood that was shed on the cross ought to make us hate sin which the world loves. Sin is very costly, for it written:

“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 6:23

Most people when they think of sin, they always think of the big sin (e.g. murder, adultery, stealing…), but Adam, the very first Man God created on earth did not commit any of these big sins. The reason both Adam and his wife, Eve were thrown out of the garden of Eden was because of the very root of sin – Rebellion. God said, “This is my way,” but we say, “I want to do it my way.” It is the temptation of all of our hearts to be in control, to be in the driver’s sit. Yet, falling in that temptation does not honour God who knows you by name.

“My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?” – Jesus (Mark 15:34)

Those words are probably the most surprising word Jesus ever said has revealed in the Bible. Jesus was abandoned completely in his most desperate moment. That moment of separation from His Father was something that has never ever happened since eternity. On the cross, Jesus experienced what no human being on the face of the earth would ever experience. Your most desperate loneliness pales in approximation to the loneliness that He went through. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was exceedingly sorrowful in His soul to the point of death that He sweat blood, knowing full well that His hour was at hand. That moment of separation from His Father for the very first time since before eternity was at hand. And so, Jesus cried out to His Father saying:

“Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Please if You can see some other way which this cup would be taking away from me; But above all else Father, let Your will be done, not mine.” – (Mark 14:36)

How can the Father abandon His Son who co-existed with Him in unity since before eternity? Why did the Father desert His Son in the most desperate moment? It was for you and me. It was because of your sins and mine. Jesus was carrying the judgement of your sins upon that cross by willingly laying down His life, and the Father could not look upon sin, and therefore, He turned His back on His one and only Son. Jesus not only carried our sins on the cross, but He became sin, cursed, and died in darkness.

On the cross, God displayed His Greatest LOVE and SACRIFICE for humanity by giving us His most treasured possession. He shed the most innocent blood of all, the very blood of His one and only beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? So that Jesus may permanently and forever deal with the sins of everyone who will come to Him and ask for His forgiveness, and will accept His sacrifice to be done for them.

Why did Jesus agree to the Father’s will to die for me? Why did God do that to himself? I often hear some people say “I’m not worth it.” In Isaiah 54:9, in His words, God tells us through Isaiah that “With everlasting love I will have compassion on you says the LORD, your Redeemer.” Isaiah is telling us that we are worth it to God. Don’t you go saying am not worth it when the cross shows how impossibly valuable you are to the Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit. It’s incredible, but it’s true! Only the Lord Jesus knows the value of your soul and that is why he asks (in Mark 8:36) this question of every single human being:

“What shall profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?”

This is an all-important question and I pray that it should haunt everyone of you until you answer it satisfactorily. Why? Because God loves you and He has provided only one way for you to His Heart – Christ alone. Jesus asked that question because He knows that your soul and mine are immortal. There was a day when you were not but there will never come a day when you will not be. A million years from now you will be alive either in Heaven with Jesus, or in the horrors of hell with Satan and his demons.

  • It is the value of your soul and mine that made Jesus leave the glories of Heaven and come to earth to live in grinding poverty.
  • It is the value of your soul that caused the creator of Heaven and Earth for a time to have nowhere to lay his head.
  • It is for your soul that the King of glory sweat blood in the garden of Gethsemane.
  • It is for your soul that the Prince of glory allowed himself to be beaten until his flesh was torn apart.
  • It is the value of your soul that caused the God of power and might to hang helplessly on a wooden cross.
  • It is the value of your soul that caused those spikes to pierce His hands and feet.
  • It is the value of your soul that compelled God in human flesh to go to Calvary and die on a cross.

We Christians often sing choruses and hymns produced by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music, formerly headed by Deon Moen. Don’s sister-in-law and her husband were involved in a tragic road accident while travelling with their four boys on a ski vacation. Their van was hit by a semi-truck. All four of their children were thrown out of the van, three of boys were seriously injured, but Jeremy, the oldest, a 9-year-old boy was killed instantly.

On hearing the heart-breaking news, Don felt completely helpless and was lost for words as he tried to console both his sister-in-law and her husband in their wilderness of loneliness and agony. The very next day, Don was travelling to meet with the family and while on his way, he was reading Isaiah 43 (verse 18-19), about how God will make a way, a roadway in the wilderness and a river in the desert. Don said he pleaded with the Lord to give him the words that will bring hope in a hopeless situation to the grieving family, and in that moment, God gave him a simple song. That very song has today become one of Don’s well-known songs, and it is sung all around the world. The song was written in a desperate situation, but it is not a song of desperation. It is a song of declaration that:

“God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. He will make a way for me…”

There are times in lives when we find ourselves hanging upside-down. There are times in lives when the best of hope gets dashed. There are times in lives when the highest of our dreams get shattered. And, in those times, the natural question is – Why? I’m convinced that this question must be pounding on the doors of Heaven all the time from broken-hearted people everywhere. It probably rises to Heaven from hospital wards, lonely bedroom, grave sites and each personal Gethsemane where troubled soul plea in private agony, “Why all the suffering? Why? Why?”

Why is the most natural question that we can ask. There is nothing wrong in asking God, “Why?” The greatest heroes in Biblical faith, they all asked, “Why?” In the book of Judges (chapter 6), when the Midianites were about to decimate the people of God, Gideon asked, why did God allow this to happen? Job, who lost his family, fortune, health and pretty much everything, sat on a heap of rubble and asked (Job 3:11), why wasn’t I born dead? The Lord Jesus Christ himself, while hanging on the cross asked God, “Why?”

If Jesus is saying anything to us by willingly choosing the way of the cross, He is saying, God has an eternal purpose even in your unexplainable suffering. God has a longer view of life even in the painful event of your life. God has a wide-angle lens when it comes to difficult circumstances in your life. God has a higher aim, especially in those inexplicable situations.

God is as much the God of justice as He is the God of love. Every human being that has ever lived and ever will live are all going to face the judgment of God. The only ones who will escape it are those who have accepted the fact that Jesus took their judgement upon Himself on His body on the cross.

The apostle Paul confidently and humbly declared (in Romans 8:1) that there is no condemnation upon those who are in Christ Jesus. Why? Because on the cross of Calvary, God paid what we could never have paid in a million years. God did what the law could never have done for us. On the cross, our debt what cancelled and we were set free. On the cross:

  • Jesus’s body was broken so that we may become spiritually whole
  • Jesus was humiliated so that we be justified before His Father
  • Jesus blood was shed so that we may be cleansed
  • Jesus was nailed so that we may be pulled away from the jaws on sin and death
  • Jesus was latched and wiped so that we may be comforted.
  • Jesus died so that we may live forever with him in Heaven.

You can die one of two ways – die on the cross with Jesus, or die in your sins. To choose the latter is to choose to face God’s judgment which means only one thing – Hell. The Bible tells us that hell is a place of utter darkness, suffering, and loneliness that is reserved for the Devil and his angels for the rest of eternity. It remains your choice – Please choose the Loving death penalty that Jesus took for you sinner, I beg you – let this be the only hell you will ever know.

God has provided a way of escape from the loneliness of sin, shame, and guilt, it is called confession and repentance. When Jesus hung on that cross at Calvary, He carried the root of loneliness in your life and mine. Today, you can say to the one who loved you and died for you:

“Lord Jesus, you died on that cross to make a way for me, you died for my sins. Please forgive my sins, I accept Lord Jesus that you took my punishment on that cross. Come into my heart Lord Jesus, come in today, come in to stay. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy… Thank You for saving me. Thank You for the Cross.  Thank  You for Your nail pierced hands. Thank you for paying the ultimate price of my sins.”

“I counted dollars while God counted crosses; I counted gains why He counted losses; I counted my worth by the things gained in store, but He sized me up by the scars that I bore; I coveted honours and sought for degrees, but He wept as He counted the hours on my knees. And I never knew till one day at a grave how vain are the things that we spend life to save.”

What does the cross mean to you? It means everything to me.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain, I count but loss.