My daughter’s fish died this week. It was a very sad moment for her. She’s ten and hasn’t had a pet of her own before. How faithful she was to it, though! Daily feedings, tank cleanings, talking to it; this girl was so responsible. And yet, he died. He had some health problems and there was nothing that could be done. As I held her crying in my arms, I told her that her sick fish’s death was God’s mercy. Now her fishy had no more pain or sickness. It was over.
As I think on it now, I realize how wonderful it is that we who live for Jesus are promised more at the end of our physical lives. For us, it won’t be over. It will be just beginning. Life without pain, without tears, without suffering, will be ours in heaven thanks to Jesus Christ. I hope before that day comes we realize the depth of His sacrifice and the impact it had on history and has on our lives.
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”1 Corinthians 13:12
Consider that someday we will get to see it all in truth and in full. What a glorious day that will be!
I’ve been studying the death of Jesus (and His resurrection) and trying to wrap my head around the social, historical, religious, spiritual, and human impact it had. There’s probably no way I will ever truly grasp the magnitude of the act of one man’s death for an entire people spanning from the beginning of humanity to the someday end of it, but I’m trying. For now, I’ll focus on the impact on sacrifice and the impact on us personally.
For one thing, people had to give sacrifices over and over for their sins, but were never truly being freed from the guilt and shame of it.
“In these sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.”Hebrews 10:3
These sacrifices were not sufficient to free anyone from their shame and guilt. And they weren’t enough to truly save.
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.”Hebrews 10:4
Think about it. It wasn’t enough. Why? Because humans are utterly sinful to the core. God intended us to be good, and made us after His image, but we let our desires entice us to sin and therefore earned the just reward of death (“For the wages of sin is death”). In the past, there was the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” rule.
- The whole of man is sinful, therefore whole man had to be sacrificed to fulfill all laws of sacrifice and remission of sins, One and once for all.
Jesus became the scapegoat (think Abraham with Isaac on the altar and the Lord providing the scapegoat for Abraham to kill instead of his son – a picture of the sacrifice of Jesus hundreds of years before Jesus was even born). When those who crucified Jesus were done with Him, there was not even (seemingly) an inch of Him that was recognizable. He truly offered His whole self to save us. Every bit of Him was sacrificed. Isaiah says this about it:
“Just as there were many who were appalled at him- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness…”Isaiah 52:14
He gave Himself fully for us. Because of the whole sacrifice, once and for all, sacrifice is no longer needed. “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin (Hebrews 10:18).” And, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).” Whereas before there was a constant reminder every year, now there is no more remembrance. How great a truth to grasp!
“My sin, not in part, but the whole was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!”“It is Well” – Bill and Gloria Gaither
Not only did His death on the cross mean salvation for us and anyone after us who believes, but it also meant salvation for those who believed before He came. It also meant that the enemy had lost. Completely. Not only the battle, but the war. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (which is also the Lamb). He has defeated death for us, taking it’s pain and curse, and has given us the victory.
If you have not yet considered these truths, I beg you to just meditate on them for a few moments today. Consider the plan that had to go into effect for your and my salvation. It was so thought out, and there were so many things that had to be fulfilled for it to truly be effective. Take into account the incredible suffering Jesus endured in becoming one of us, being murdered though innocent by us, then taking on the separation between humanity and God as He descended into Hell for us, and the glory He received and is still worthy of receiving all day, every day because He defeated death and the grave for us. My heart cannot contain the joy bursting forth from that tiny revelation!
He is worthy. He is worthy of all praise, all glory, all honor. He’s worthy of every bit of us. He came as man, sacrificed the whole man for the whole of man, died and descended into Hell, and became the Way for us to the Father in heaven and resurrection to new and eternal life. He is worthy of our whole self as a reflection of our gratitude, imitation, following, and acceptance of Him and our payment for sin which He prepaid (think about that).
If you haven’t yet given your life to the One who gave His life for you, I pray you will today. If you have, and haven’t thanked Him yet today for giving His life for you, take the time now to honor Him in that.
Amazing how God can use even the death of a pet fish to point us back to Him and what He’s done for us.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for saving me! Thank You for dying in my place, for taking on my punishment, and for defeating death for me. Thank You for being innocent so that death couldn’t keep You down. I’m sorry for all my sins that put You on that cross and caused You to become unrecognizable as You took on my payment for sins. Please forgive me. Please help me never forget Your sacrifice for me. Help me to always find joy in the salvation You provided for me. You are worthy of all praise and all of my life, into eternity. Thank you that this isn’t the end! In Jesus’s name, Amen.