In the midst of celebrating the Easter season, I always consider with awe the enormity of the sacrifice that Jesus made for sinners on the cross. How incredibly selfless, to give up His life for the sake of those who could not even fathom the depths of His love! Easter is about Jesus, what He has done for us, and a whole lot more.
I would be remiss in my faith if I did not stop to consider the implications that His sacrifice has as a model for my own life. It is so easy for me, and perhaps others, to get caught up in the beauty and tragedy of what Christ did. And yes-it was beautiful, and it was tragic, and then when he rose again it was glorious! But I have come to realize that it was also meant to be exemplary, in the sense of “setting a standard.” Perhaps it is a standard that we as humans could not really ever attain to? Consider this verse found in the New Living Translation of the bible:
Philippians 2:6-8 (NLV)
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
As a youth, I had to memorize Philippians 2:1-18 as a part of a church group “motto” verse, if you will. This particular section has meant so much to me in my life-because it was such a hard concept to grasp for the self-seeking teen that I was. What is this verse telling me? Christ was fully human. He was fully capable of experiencing pain, humiliation, betrayal. He had the option of saying “no,” of being selfish, and of leaving us to our old ways.
However, if Jesus himself neither clung to nor hid behind the standard of being equal to God to achieve this high standard-while having every right to claim that perfection as his own-I certainly cannot use my inequality as an excuse for falling short. I cannot simply bask in the wonder of what Christ did, or only celebrate his victory over the grave-although, there is time for that as well. I should humble myself in my complete inability to attain to Christ while following his example of humility; I must make the same sacrifice. My path is made clear in John 15:13:
John 15:13 (New International Version)
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
But there is also a promise behind these verses. And the Bible speaks of how glorious our day in heaven will be if we will follow Christ:
Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV)
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like his glorious body.
My mother-in-law recently shared a link to a fantastic blog written by Rachel Jankovic about how following Christ’s sacrificial example plays out in her own life. I encourage you to take the time and read what she has to say about the sacrifice of becoming a mother.
He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed.