by, Isam Itson III
John 3:16-17 – For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
1 John 3:16 – This is how we have come to know love: He (Jesus Christ) laid down his life for us.
Hebrews 12:2 – For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
God reveals the value of a human life through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. According to God, there is nothing more precious in all of creation than a human being. God gave his eternal Son for our salvation. God’s eternal Son, Jesus Christ, gave his life to save our lives.
Jesus’ teaching revealed that when we denied God’s value to us we denied our value to each other. We treated each other with indignity and became willing to use, abuse, and kill one another for the fulfillment of our personal desires. When we honor God’s value to us revealed in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we honor our value to each other. We treat each other as blessed and highly favored by God himself. We recognize that when Jesus died for us, Jesus died for everybody. This is how we begin living as citizens of God’s kingdom even while we live within the self serving kingdoms of this world.
The cross was an expression of Roman dominance over subject nations and ethnic groups. The shame of the cross is that it signified the power of the Roman government over a population. Execution by crucifixion was a sign of your impotence and worthlessness to the society at large. Roman crucifixion declared that your life was meaningless to your community. Crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals and enemies of the Roman way of life. Being put to death on a Roman cross was a source of public shame for all of your surviving friends and family members.
To God, to Jesus Christ, the restoration of our relationship with God was worth taking this shame upon himself. We are worth God’s temporary shame experienced in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The fear of public ridicule did not stop Jesus from sacrificing himself for us.
Every time I see or read about a parent who spends their time, energy, and money securing and enriching the life of their children I am reminded of the nature and motivation of God’s love revealed in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. God’s identification with us and love for us is so rich, and full, and deep, that not even our rejection of God’s sovereignty is enough to keep God from loving us and looking out for us. We are his children.
So God commissioned his Eternal Son to sacrifice his life so that our life with God could be restored. The extent of the shame, loss, and pain that Jesus experienced was meaningless in the face of our restoration to the family of God. To God, to Jesus, we are worth his sacrifice.
Jesus did not die for his crimes against Roman authority. Jesus died for our crimes against God’s authority. On the cross, Jesus overcame the fear of death and rejection so that we could live overcoming the fear of death and rejection. Jesus conquered that fear because he trusted God with his life. Through faith in Jesus we can also trust God with our lives.
So, when we ally ourselves with God we submit to being used by God to bless others, no matter what it costs us socially or materially. Allegiance to God not only cost Jesus his life, it also cost him his reputation. For our sake Jesus surrendered his life. For our sake God gave Jesus to die on our behalf. God uses our lives to secure the life and well being of people who have not yet been restored to good standing in their relationship with God.
Once we are in good standing with God. Thanks to Jesus Christ, we are free to spend our lives for the good of others and the glory of God. Just like Jesus who sacrificed his life for us. Because just like Jesus, when we stay true to God’s calling on our life for the good of others, we fulfill God’s purpose for our existence.
1. How does remembering God’s love and faithfulness for you affect your own thoughts about and actions towards other people?
2. What is the difference between ignoring someones offense and paying the price for someones offense? How does that difference effect our attitude when people offend you personally?