But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Memorial Day was a few days ago. I think it is good that our country sets aside a day annually to honor and memorialize the soldiers who have died for our freedoms. To any veteran reading this, know that you have my thanks and the gratitude of many for the sacrifices you and your fellow soldiers have made for us.
At the Calhoun Church of Christ, we take time every Sunday to observe the Lord’s Supper and thus memorialize and honor our Lord and Savior for the ultimate sacrifice He made to save us from our sins. The night before He died, Christ instituted the Supper by taking unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, teaching His disciples that they represented His body which was about to be broken for them and His blood which was about to be shed for the forgiveness of our sins, and instructing them to partake of the bread and the cup “in remembrance of Me” (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20). Paul instructed Christians to “proclaim His death” by observing the Supper in the same manner (1 Corinthians 11:23-26; cf. 10:16-17). The early Christians observed the Lord’s Supper for these reasons every Sunday when they assembled together to worship (Acts 20:7; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; 14:26ff; 16:1-2). Therefore, we at Calhoun also remember Christ’s death every Sunday by observing the Supper.
Think about exactly what Jesus went through for you. Picture the agony of the stress, anxiety, and worry He felt the night before, knowing that the time of His betrayal, torture, and death was fast approaching. Imagine the loneliness He felt as He looked to His closest friends for comfort, only to find them continually asleep despite His pleas, not truly understanding what was about to happen.
Think of the worst betrayal of your life, and you might have an idea of what Jesus went through as another one of His supposedly good friends brought the soldiers to arrest Him and identified Him with a false greeting of supposed honor and a kiss, of all things. Picture standing before your worst enemies, imagine that they want you dead and have the power to do it, and think of how you would feel standing there as slanderous lie after lie about you was yelled out among them, even to the point of contradicting themselves. Imagine telling them the truth about yourself, only to have them completely reject it to the point of angrily tearing their own clothes in reaction to the truth and condemning you to death. Try to feel the punches to the face, their spittle dripping off your eyebrows and chin, and hearing their continual mockery all night long. You might approach knowing what Jesus went through that night.
Think of being brought before a judge who knows that you have done nothing wrong and even has the power to make your enemies stop persecuting you…only to have him not meet your eyes as he fearfully gives in to the pressure put upon him by the mob of your foes to join them in condemning you to die. Think of the betrayal and harsh unfairness you would feel as you saw him give a known murderer freedom instead of you.
Can you remember the worse pain you’ve ever felt? It likely doesn’t hold a candle to having the skin literally flayed off your back by whips that had bits of bone or broken glass tied to their ends. You likely have not had sharp thorns pressed down into your scalp or thick nails puncture your wrists and feet, nailing you to the rough timber of a cross, resulting in continual agony as you are forced to press against the nails in your feet just to release the pressure on your lungs due to hanging in that position so you can take in just one breath. Imagine your throat parched with thirst, only to be given just a drop or two of sour wine mixed with vinegar from a sponge instead of cool water. That and much more is what Jesus went through for six hours before allowing death to finally take Him.
He did all of that for you and me. The least we could do is obey Him.