When Sacrifice is Necessary

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing…”  —  Luke 23:34

Life is full of contradictions and paradoxes. The Wall Street Journal  picked up a story several years ago that offered such a striking contradiction.

The Journal reported, “The elms in South Park, Pittsburgh, must come down because they were obstructing the monument to Joyce Kilmer. They had lifted their leafy arms so high that passersby could no longer read the inscription which began: “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.”

It strikes me as odd that the trees were sacrificed for the sake of tribute to the beauty of trees. How could anyone not be stopped in their tracks by the irony of the situation? Surely you and I would not be caught up in anything that preposterous.

But we have. We have crucified the Lord of Glory–our only Hope–our Life–our Mediator with God. Jesus’ plea was for our forgiveness not an overlooking or acceptance of our ignorance. There was a wilfulness involved in the crowd that day that we are a part of.

The crowd that day was not fully aware of the eternal impact of the actions they were taking but they did know what they were doing at that moment. They chose, as we have, to willfully reject the Son of God. There hands–and ours–were bloody with the sin of our rejection.

In the great paradox of forgiveness, Jesus chose to look beyond our guilt to see our need. Graham Kendrick writes:

“My Lord what love is this that pays so dearly;
That I, the guilty one may go free?
Amazing love, O sacrifice,
The Son of God given for me.

My debt He pays and my death He dies,
That I might live, that I might live!”

We must never forget our role in history–the rejection of the Son of God. We must never take for granted God’s mercy and forgiveness. God sees through the eye of eternity and declares the price has been paid for all who will forsake their sins and come to Him in faith.

Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary…so is our repentance.


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