THE GREATEST SACRIFICE
Human life is associated with sacrifices of many kinds. Sacrifice is something that costs to benefit others. We as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters or husbands, wives and friends, sacrifice something good to express our love for our dear ones.
Cost Of The Sacrifice
When Adam and Eve sinned God was neither able to condemn nor forsake them. So, God decided to make a sacrifice to maintain His love and retain His Holiness. He sacrificed a lamb to cover man with its skin. The act of killing a lamb was not difficult for God. He had to go against His nature to be cruel to the one who trusted and depended on Him. So He struck the lamb, which trusted His just, righteous, loving and merciful nature. Though God paid this heavy sacrifice, it meant nothing to man because he did not understand the value of it, for he did not experience it!
Abraham one day understood that God is asking Isaac, his son, as a sacrifice. Abraham thought over and decided to obey Ďthis voice.í To obey it meant several conflicts within him; he could not tell Sarah what he was about to do. Though prepared for journey to Mount Moriah, with knife, wood and fire, he had no answer for his sonís question: "Father, I see that you have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?" (Gen. 22:6-7). He could not tell his servants. The sacrifice was on his mind and each action triggered the sacrifice. Abraham was killing his desires and hopes. Each time the conflict rose, he told himself, "God is all-powerful," "God is loving," "God will honour those who trust in Him," "Nothing is impossible with God," "God can raise my son alive from death, for He has promised me," "God will never fail His promises," etc. Amidst all these questions he exhibited trust in God. He totally surrendered his body, mind and soul to the will of God. The time finally came when he had to do what he hated. He had to bind his own son, who could understand and lay him on the wood (Gen. 22:9). Every moment was against his nature, to act against his beloved son, Isaac. He raised the knife to kill the lad just to obey God. After he died to self and his desire, he heard the voice saying, "Do not lay hand on the boy. Now I know that you fear God because you did not withhold your only son." He saw a ram and sacrificed it in the place of his son.
God is more loving than any earthly father, even Abraham. So God gave His sacrifice in the place of Abrahamís son and blessed him as a reward for his love for God. Abraham, in the process of this sacrifice, understood the heart of God. This revelation opened a way for God to bless saying, "I swear by myself declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me" (Gen.22:16-18). Because Abraham understood the sacrifice of our Heavenly Father, he is made 'Father.' He is Father to three religions (The Jews, Muslims and the Christians). The world today recognises him as 'Father of the Nations.' We are enjoying his blessings, for Jesus Christ became our substitute (Gal.3:13-14). The sacrifice Abraham made was greater than waging war to win nations. Abraham won the heart of God and thus won nations.
From Slaves to Sons
Abraham saw his captors turn captives. His descendants too experienced when they sacrificed a lamb and applied its blood on the door posts. The attachment and detachment from the lamb made them understand Godís heart. This was the instruction God gave Israel to follow (Exo.12:3-8). As the Israelites obeyed the words of God, their captors were made captive. Soon this sacrifice protected their first born, but others faced death. The slaves now walked in freedom as sons of the Most High under His protection, leading, guiding, and provision that their clothes did not wear-out, nor did their feet swell for understanding Godís heart (Deut. 29:5; Neh.9:21).
Destroys The Enemy
God sent His only Son, who was eternal, immortal, all-knowing, all-powerful, who is everywhere to be capsuled as a babe in a virginís womb. That was a great sacrifice that God made to limit Him to man. He was succumbed to the laws of nature, land and culture. A stable was the place of His birth, being the King of kings. His power is above every power; still He allowed the scheme of the evil to kill this babe. King Herod ordered that all the babies were to be killed. God in His Sovereignty guided Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt. Jesus experienced life in Egypt (Hos.11:1; Matt.2:15). Egypt is symbolic of our life of slavery. Jesus experienced slavery to bring us all into freedom. He is the fulfilled Word of God. He went through poverty to make us rich (2 Cor.8:9). He became curse to set us free from its effects (Gal.3:13). Jesus took all the sin to set us free from the punishment of sin (2 Cor. 5:21). He cried with tears pleading, "Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from Me!" All night He pleaded, but heard no reply; yet He decided to obey the Father (Rom. 5:19). He was alone in grief, bruised and flogged to the extent He was disfigured (Isa.53:2). He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities... by His stripes we are healed (Isa.53:5). God came to show His love. His sacrifice was to purchase us by His blood (1 Pet.1:19). He went through all this to set us free from all the evil effects of sin, curse and iniquity. But His sacrifice revealed a hidden mystery. "See, my servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at Him, His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness. So He will sprinkle many nations and kings will shut their mouths because of Him. For what they were not told they will see and what they have not heard, they will understand" (Isa.52:13-15). Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrifice who takes His own blood to the Father pleading our cause to make us clear in our consciences (Heb. 9:11-12). When we partner with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God makes our captors captive. For all our sacrifices point to the sacrifice God has made before the foundations of the earth (Rev.13:8). So, any great sacrifice is only a symbol of the sacrifice God made for you. All our offerings and sacrifices are the seeds we sow to reap power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing (Zeph.3:14-20; Rev.5:12). When we sow a sacrifice, we reap life.
Partake Godís Glory
The greatest sacrifice is what God has done. We partake in His sacrifice as we remember Him, according to the instruction to His disciples, "Do this in remembrance of Me." Each time they met, they broke bread and drank the wine; this resembled the perfect sacrifice. "But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you" (1 Pet. 4:13-14). The sacrifice of Jesus Christ reminds God the price He paid to make you holy and blameless so that we can enter Godís presence with boldness.
God wants us to know the great power of God when we believe His sacrifice. This power is able to raise us from the dead, like it raised Jesus Christ from death and seated Him at the right hand of the Father, who is far above principalities, power, might, dominion, and every name that is named in this world and in the one to come. And God put all things under His feet and gave Him to be the head of all things in the church (Eph.1:19-22). Our part in this sacrifice gives us dominion over every circumstance. This resurrection power will raise many more sons of God who will be moved by the Spirit to liberate the earth from the bondage (Rom.8:19-21). We as part of the Universal Church have the responsibility to recreate Heaven on earth.
The way of the world demands us to be selfish and become dead ends. But the ways of God expect our openness to bless many. The world victimises the weak, innocent and ignorant; but the way of God is to make the captors captive in lifting up the needy and to restore the fallen. Let us work to lift the weak and broken-hearted. The little sacrifice you make for God helps you take part in the great plan of God to make the greatest sacrifice work wonders of making your captors captives. "Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the LORDís land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors" (Isa.14:2).