Sacrifices of Easter

by Laura Courtney

Easter is a real celebration for us, but it can’t come without Good Friday. Good Friday marks the day that Jesus, the Son of God, died for us so that we could be reunited with God the Father. We often take time to reflect on the suffering Christ endured and the sacrifice Jesus made out of love for us. But I want to reflect for a moment about another sacrifice that was made that day too (and hopefully this doesn’t sound too blasphemous or anything by the end… I’m no theologian here people).

I’ve been thinking recently about the sacrifice God the Father had to make that Good Friday. He had to watch and, in a sense I believe, give approval of His Son’s death. It was no surprise to either Him nor Jesus and it was not without their love for us that it happened. But it still had to happen.

Christ suffered tremendously and had to bear the weight of all our sin – the whole world’s sin – on the Cross. I cannot imagine having to go through that myself and obviously I never could have done it which was why Christ had to. But at the same time, I cannot imagine the part of the Trinity that is God the Father who had to watch His Son suffer. I think that is almost the harder thought for me. As parents we want to keep our children safe, protect them from harm, and surely would rather give our own life for our child(ren). If asked the question would we rather have to suffer excruciating pain ourselves or watch our child go through it, I think we all would volunteer as tribute without second thought.

But God is so much greater and stronger than we because He knew this was the only way to reconcile the entire world to Him again. And so He did. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

We read a foreshadowing to this in Genesis 22 when God asks Abraham to do a similar act with Isaac. Abraham is willing yet God does not make Him go through with it. However, in the Gospels there is no other way. The sacrifice God asked Abraham to make He now has to make Himself. He watches His Son suffer a brutal and agonizing death; to then die and be officially and completely separated from Him.

 As a parent would I – could I – let my only child die knowing that I could stop it all instantly? And what’s more, let my child die for the worst of people? Maybe I could better rationalize it to myself if I knew my child was dying for “good people”. But Christ didn’t die just for those who were good and who would one day go to heaven…He died for all sinners, then and now; the most horrible, heartless, and evil of us. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)

I keep hearing the lyrics,  “How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure.” It is only because of God’s great love – His unconditional, everlasting, patient, perfect love for us – that He would do this. In my opinion, we never were and never could be worth that sacrifice of a Father letting His Son die. But because He is good and He is love, He believes that we are. Are you living your life in honor of the sacrifices (both of them) of Easter?

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9-11 NIV)

Father your love is greater than we can ever know or comprehend. It is unfathomable to me at times how you could even love us. Yet I am so thankful you do. Thank you for the sacrifices of Easter that you endured so that we could be reconciled to you. May we live each day worthy of those sacrifices. Amen.

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