The Agony of the Cross Part II
"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."3
In yesterday's Daily Encounter we told the story about the Argyle (prisoner) who, in a Japanese prison camp, gave his life to save that of his fellow comrades.
Surely there is no greater love than what this prisoner displayed. His was the supreme sacrifice. Knowing that he wasn't guilty, he gave his life to save the lives of his fellow prisoners. Even Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."4
And yet, Jesus did display an even greater love. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ [Jesus] died for us."5
So why did Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Great Creator of the universe, lay aside his external robes of deity to be clothed in a garment of human flesh, and left the glory of Heaven to come to earth as a man to die for lost mankind?
He did it because of his incredible love for us, to pay the penalty for and consequences of our sin, which is spiritual death. Spiritual death is not the cessation of life. It is eternal separation from God, the author of all love and life. Jesus died for us because it breaks the heart of God to lose us forever in an unthinkable eternity that God calls hell.
And when we consider the excruciation suffering caused by crucifixion—the agony of which Jesus went through for us—we can appreciate so much more the magnitude of God's love for us. (Be sure to see tomorrow's Daily Encounter for a medic's description of the brutality of Roman crucifixions.)
To be concluded …
Suggested prayer: Suggested prayer: "Dear God, again I thank You for Your incredible love gift to the world in giving Your Son, Jesus the Christ, to die on the cross in my place to save me from the dreadful consequences of my sin. And, Lord Jesus, again I thank You for giving Your life to pay the penalty for my sins so I can be freely forgiven and receive Your gift of eternal life. Help me to live a life in never-ending gratitude to You for all You have done for me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
3. Romans 5:7-8 (NIV).
4. John 15:13 (NIV)
5. Romans 5:7-8 (NIV).