Sunday, February 10, 2008

A bigger gift than we sometimes realize

Early in my Christian experience I used to wonder innocently "What did Jesus really give up, by dying on the cross?" He was raised back to life in three days, after all. Well, we also know that if we give our life as a Christian that we will be ressurected too. But we don't want to die, do we? Especially not painfully. Leaving hurt ones behind and missing out on the life we'd planned, even though we know a better life awaits us. But even that requires faith. "What if something goes wrong?" "What if we don't make it?" Jesus had to deal with these same issues, and the stakes were very very high, the life of God's own son at risk. There are other things Jesus may have given up by assuming humanity, but much of that we don't know till Jesus comes again and we get to ask all those questions.

But God gave up something we don't always think about, when he let Jesus be a sacrifice for our sins.

Think of what Jesus accomplished in three short years of His ministry. Can you imagine what another 30 years could have accomplished to benefit mankind?

I can just see God watching approvingly as His Son "finally got it right"; as the truth about God was revealed and Jesus lived his life as a perfect example of love, kindness and forgiveness.

What an opportunity for God! Jesus wept when Isreal would not accept him. Imagine how Jesus felt too, about all that he could accomplish for good.

Even though it was Christ's mission to come and be a sacrifice for our sins, it was also his mission to minister to mankind, and it was likely a very hard choice to let Jesus be sacrificed so soon, and so harshly. It is not so different from Isaac - a young life so perfect and full of promise. We get a glimpse of this when Jesus prayed to the Father: "if there be another way..."

So what does all that mean? To me, just that the price was great, and that I need to keep aware and respect the great price given. Then my awareness and awe will turn to a life in which I try to honor that - and make sure that so great a price is not wasted. Either on me or for anyone else I am able to help along the way.