You never know what you are willing to give until you are faced with having to make the decision. Our willingness to sacrifice cannot be understood in a vacuum. We are willing to sacrifice when the reason for doing it is tied to something we value more than what we are being asked to give.
When we bring this reality to our conversations about the Gospel we are confronted with some interesting questions. The most obvious of which is this: What did God value in humanity to set into motion the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross? I know there are some who would balk at this question. I will admit that it makes me uncomfortable as well. But, we have to wrestle with the implications of the fact that Jesus died for the redemption of a fallen humanity. He made this choice willingly. He was not forced to die. He chose to allow sinners to crucify him on the cross.
As Christians, our lives are to be patterned, as best as we can, to the example of Jesus. We have so much left to learn about what it means to sacrifice like Jesus. But, we have to see his sacrifice and we have to do our best to understand it if we are ever going to embody it in our own lives.
Jesus sacrificed his very life for us. He died so that we might have life, and that more abundantly. And the reason he did it was not just so he could be called a savior, or for God to simply avoid the accusation of being unjust. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was also an expression of what he valued in us, the image bearers of God. As tarnished by sin as we were, there was still a vestige of that perfect image resident within us. There was still something of value in us. But this value was borrowed from God, it was not inherent in us.
The season of Lent should cause us to reflect on the nature of God’s love toward us. His love infuses us with value. Sin has robbed us of any value we had before the fall. But God, who is rich in mercy has restored that value by covering us with the righteousness of Christ. This is a wondrous thing. We should not take it for granted.