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The Ultimate Sacrifice

May 28, 2018

On Memorial Day Americans remember especially soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Because they gave their lives to fight for our freedom, we remember them, we celebrate them.

When Jesus, however, was about to give up his life for us, he told his disciples to remember him through breaking bread (his broken “body”) and drinking wine (his “blood”) together. His ultimate sacrifice fulfilled all the animal sacrifices (for sin) found in the Old Testament. Jesus’ sacrifice epitomized his new covenant of love, a love that was pure in heart and full of compassion.

Because Jesus sacrificed his life out of love for even his enemies, we should remember his death as distinctly different from the deaths of soldiers who risk their lives out of love for their countries–and hate for their enemies, the ones they are fighting. Jesus’ death is a basis for forgiveness of sins, including sins of hate, violence, and killing of another person. And Jesus’ death is an example for his disciples to take up their crosses and follow him, willing to give up their lives but not willing to take another life.

So let’s remember Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice as the major reason that we refuse to sacrifice others. To kill enemies of our country is applauded by our powerful leaders (“fathers”). But the desires to kill and destroy are sins to be confessed to the most powerful of all, God the Father, who raised Jesus from death. Jesus is Lord. And Jesus’ ongoing presence and power can give us freedom to follow his way of love. Jesus’ kingdom, not earthly kingdoms and their “freedom,” is the ultimate.

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