My old self has been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body
by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 NLT
Easter is fast approaching, and, like me, you may be trying to wrap your mind around its true meaning. I think my mind understands the facts. Father God’s plan to save humanity included a horrific sacrifice. The Father sent his beloved Son Jesus to earth to deliver his message that he loves us and was making a way home so we might be able to live forever in his presence. There was no other way for our relationship with God to be restored except that Jesus bear in his own human body the penalty for all the sin. Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross we, who were chosen and called, would be returned to our heavenly Father’s family.
Jesus obeyed his Father out of sacrificial love for us. As far as I can discern, the word sacrifice here means “the holy, or sacred, destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.” If we accept this interpretation, it seems to imply that the Cross of Christ is a place of holy exchanges.
Sacrificial love carries with it an implicit loss of precious things. It was not just the physical, emotional and spiritual agony that was caused in God’s sacrifice. But, also, Jesus had to endure the loss of his public honor and reputation, the loss of fellowship with his beloved disciples, the loss of intimacy with his Father when God the Father had to turn his face from him as he bore our sin, and ultimately the loss of his human life.
Jesus set aside Heaven and all the glories he enjoyed there to obey his Father and set us free. He and the Father suffered great loss in order to return us to the place and plan created for us before the earth was formed. In order to receive and respond to that sacrifice for us, we are asked to manifest their sacrificial love and life as we become more like Jesus. In order to do that, we must crucify, put to death, our old nature with its rebellious ways.
We nail to the Cross of Christ our selfish desires in exchange for true freedom. We crucify our plans and claim God’s perfect will. We pick up our godly calling and mission on earth as we deny the world’s pull on our time, resources and passions. We choose to align with Jesus and bear any loss so that we might gain him, his eternal love and faithful, tender presence forever.
Dear friends, be blessed as you embrace the crucified life in Christ. Acknowledge the loss that sacrificial life implies and surrender happily to Jesus. May you experience the freedom of being set free from the cares of a selfish life and soar with unending hope, love and joy as you receive the Father’s pleasure. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ March 24, 2021