Many sacrifices have been made by us for family and friends. To give life, earnings, time or love as a sacrifice is all that we can do as humans. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was what God required for our sins. He gave His life so that we can have eternal salvation! What an awesome friendship! How did Paul see Jesus as a friend? Paul gave Jesus complete credit for being the light on the Damascus Road that helped him to become a new creature. The symbolism of Jesus Christ’s cross remains an integral part of the gospel message. Paul expounded this principle in personal terms: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me through the power of the Holy Spirit: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galations 2:20). Paul made possible the same thought by profoundly stating that “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galations 6:14). We can clearly see that through His suffering on the cross, Christ befriends everyone who believes.
How do we know when or if we need more knowledge about Jesus? We can always pray that we do not miss the obvious facts daily. Where can we find a friend like Jesus? He cares about us just as we are. We cannot learn about His friendship by any earthly status. In the details of life, we can miss His signature of love. As we count our blessings, let us see Jesus and let us not forget that our very existence reflects the many ways we are loved.
Jesus reflected personal feelings when he addressed His disciples, “The Father Himself loves you, because you have loved me, and believed that I came forth from God” (John 16:27). This love is seemingly special and goes beyond His affection for the entire world. It may be expedient for us as believers to spend quality time for the ONE who loves us and, the ONE who overlooks our faults to meet our needs. Daily schedules are crowded, but it is necessary that we somehow find time for our Lilly of the Valley, our Rose of Sharon and our Bright and Morning Star! God’s peace can fill us with joy as we learn to walk with Him in our time.
What does His sacrifice on the cross mean to us today? It means the same as it did during the 1st century AD. Christ gave Himself as a sacrificial offering, once and for all, for our sins. As we evaluate our activities, Hebrews 9-12 can help us to identify our responsibilities to encourage each other and to overcome weaknesses which will make it easier for others to also follow Jesus Christ. How can we commit our lives to the power of Jesus Christ? One of the most favorable plans is to choose friends who tend to follow Jesus’ teachings. Friends with negative values can influence us in wrong ways. Reconsider our activities that may hinder spiritual growth. During the night when Jesus was betrayed, He told His disciples of His intention to give His life in exchange for mankind. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends” (John 15:13). Later He set the ultimate example of self-sacrifice by dying on the cross. In so doing, He made it possible for our sins to be forgiven and secured the promise of our eternal home in heaven!
Truly Jesus did die to reconcile us to God. He paid the death penalty for sin in our place and presented to us the pathway to eternity. Let us never allow ourselves to be corrupted by present day society’s methods of erasing or diminishing from our minds this wonderful good news for which we should be forever grateful!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.