…an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy*
The sacrifice of a person for the sake of another is often considered heroic. A passerby sees a child drowning in a fast-flowing river, so he jumps in the water to save the child. The firefighter enters the burning building to save those trapped in it. We consider the sacrifice of others as beautiful.
Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice, and many times people will ask why God required blood? I think of two answers. 1) The blood met the need. 2) The blood demonstrated the extent of the love.
If the person passing by the drowning child ran to look for a burning building to run into, that would not help anything. In the same way, the required save was needed, not any other attempted fix.
God required blood to remove sin. This was pictured in the Law given to the Israelites. A healthy animal needed to be sacrificed to cover sin. These sacrifices were a picture of the perfect sacrifice which would remove sin. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, and his sacrifice removes the sin of the person who believes in him.
Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. His life was able to meet God’s standard to be the sacrifice. When Jesus died on the cross, he was a sacrifice that God accepted. God is perfect and without sin. No one can come to God as they are. No one, except for Jesus who lived a sinless life!
People who trust Jesus – those who accept his sacrifice – receive forgiveness for their sin. God looks at me and sees the beauty of Jesus’ perfectly-lived life. This is grace, the free gift of God.
I don’t like the blood, for sure, but I accept that there was no other way.
I also see the extent of God’s love. God sent his only son, Jesus, knowing that Jesus’ purpose in life was his death.** I sometimes have said that if candy were the most costly sacrifice a person could make, perhaps candy would meet the need of mankind’s soul. But, of course, candy isn’t the greatest sacrifice; one’s life is the greatest sacrifice.
More than that, one’s child’s life is even more of a sacrifice. I know as a parent that I might be able to die for my child, but could never send my child to his death. God demonstrated his love to us by sending his only son, Jesus, to live as we live, and to die to meet our need for forgiveness. Jesus did this willingly, although it certainly wasn’t easy.
God, the Father, gave the greatest sacrifice of his only son. Jesus, the Son, gave the greatest sacrifice of his life. Oh, how God loves us!
This writing has been long, but what an important topic. Perhaps you would consider how great God’s love is for you. Consider whether you are ready for life after you die. When God asks, “Why should I let you live with me,” what is your answer?
* Definition taken from Google’s online dictionary.
** John 3:16 in the Bible
To read the Bible’s message of sacrifice read the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.