Saturday, December 04, 2004

No Small Sacrifice

I have a cold. I woke up literally every hour last night because I couldn’t breathe through my nose; I’m too tired to hang out with my friends watching football tonight as originally planned; and I’m ready to nominate the person who invented Puffs Plus for a Nobel Prize of some sort. All in all, it’s not the most pleasant experience, but it could be worse, and it’s just a part of life that everyone has to suffer through at some point.

With the sights and sounds of Christmas following us at every turn, we celebrate the fact that Jesus traded His heavenly reign for an earthly life. I started thinking about how many typical life events we suffer through that Jesus likely experienced. Surely He had at least one cold, a stomachache, diaper rash, a stubbed toe. As a carpenter, he most likely suffered His fair share of splinters and cuts. Maybe His joints ached. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was not simply some deity disguised as a man (i.e., not feeling any pain or suffering); He WAS a man.

“You attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:5-8)

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Heb. 2:14-18)

Sometimes I forget what a sacrifice it was for Jesus to leave Heaven to live on Earth. To trade the ultimate perfection for utter filth, corruption, danger. To endure not just the physical suffering of the crucifixion, but the much greater agony of being separated from the Father, and not because of any sin He committed, but because of our sins.

Most incredible of all is to consider that Jesus sacrificed all this—His very life--for us! For you. For me. He could have chosen to stay in Heaven, free from germs and dirty laundry and betrayals. But He didn’t.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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