When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people praised and worshipped Him, however, He knew that many of these same people would, within days, be screaming for his death. He knew his closest friends would betray Him. Despite His knowledge of the future, what did He do? Jesus continued to help those very people and did not waver in His plan to pay the ultimate price for them. Wow!!!
We marvel at stories of sacrifice. For example, Private McGinnis, who was killed in a Baghdad neighborhood on Dec. 4, 2006, when a grenade was thrown into the gunner’s hatch of his Humvee. Although McGinnis had enough time to save himself, instead he dropped into the hatch and covered the grenade with his own body. All four of his fellow soldiers were saved. His sacrifce deeply moves us. Christ’s should even more profoundly move us—for at least two reasons. First, Jesus chose to die for His enemies, not His friends, and second, His sacrifice was completely contemplated, not a split second decision.
Perhaps, we can imagine giving our life for someone we LOVE—right? But our enemies??? No way! Furthermore, Christ knew for years that He would be born to suffer and die for the sinful and ungrateful human race, and yet—for 33 years, He lived a life of love for the enemies He knew would kill Him! The Bible says:
“God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5: 8)
I ask myself: Am I as grateful for His sacrifice as I would be for a friend who jumped on a grenade to save me? Is my life transformed by thankfulness to God? Before He saved me, I was His enemy. And even after I accepted the gift He died to give me—I’ve often betrayed Him as I’ve delved back into the sin He died to free me from. He knows ALL of that—yet He still loves me. His love profoundly humbles me. I’m grateful for the reminder of the unfathomable love God showed me when I was His enemy. His love is the greatest transforming power in my life.
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