TOPIC: THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE
Text: Mark 10: 29-32
Today is another Good Friday when we commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.; the payment for our sins. We sinned therefore He died so that we might live. God directed man’s attention to the cross right from the fal, as the source of salvation and blessing,. It was prefigured and prophesied in the animal God slaughtered to get cover for the nakedness of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). It was also foreshadowed in the altar and sacrifices of animals offered by some patriarchs e.g. Noah (Gen.8:20-21). However, in Genesis 22 it became clear that a man and not an animal had to die for the redemption of sinful men and the substitute had to be provided by God himself. This was pointing to the ultimate sacrifice to be paid later by Jesus Christ.
THE MEANINGS OF THE WORD ULTIMATE AND SACRIFICE.
The word “ultimate” simply means the greatest or highest in quality or quantity; the supreme or maximum. In other words the one that suits or serves a purpose best such that one does not have to look somewhere else. The word “sacrifice” in the first place means the act of giving up something that one may want to keep in order to get, or do something or to help someone. In the second place, it means the act of killing a person or animal as an act of offering to appease or please God. All of the above found fulfillment in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. God the father, instead of keeping His only begotten Son, gave Him to the world to die as a sacrifice for our sins. The Son also, instead of keeping Himself, gave up the ghost or allowed Himself to be killed as a sacrifice. His death became the ultimate sacrifice because it suits and serves the purpose of God. God is satisfied because nothing is left out in the sacrifice of His son. We therefore do not have to look elsewhere for salvation or the assurance of eternal life once we give our lives over to Him through His son.
EVENTS OF HIS TRIAL
The event of Christ’s trial was in two stages and the whole spelt a flagrant violation of the rule of justice. The first stage is recorded in Mark 14:53-65 where Jesus our savior was taken to the supreme court of the Jews (Sanhedrin).
The following were the rules of the court:
The court trial must hold in the hall hewn of stone (a part of the temple) and only decision taken there was valid.
The court should not meet at night or at any of the great feasts e.g. Passover.
Witnesses must be examined separately and for an evidence to be valid two people must agree in every detail.
Each member of the Sanhedrin must give verdict separately beginning from the youngest to the oldest.
A night must elapse in a verdict of death before carrying it out perhaps the court might change its mind towards mercy.
All the above rules were violated, yet the Savior endured it all. What a supreme sacrifice!
The second stage was with Pilate to whom the chief priests, the elders and the scribes took Jesus Christ because of the limitation of Sanhedrin’s power on matters relating to death as a penalty. The only charge they could present to Pilate was that He called Himself a King which Jesus did not deny (Mk. 15:1-2) . The whole process was a travesty of justice and it revealed the weakness of Pilate, the judge:
The public decided for him on the matter
His verdict was characterized with compromise.
He had Jesus flogged and handed him over to His accusers. This was followed by the yelling of the soldier and insults from the passerby. At the 9th hour and with a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last. What a sacrifice!
THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE
The book of Mark pictured Jesus Christ as a servant with authority from on high. Thus in Mark we read words like “immediately”, “suddenly” etc. He demonstrated authority in healing the sick, raising the dead etc. However, what happened on the cross was a surprise to many people. How, a mighty man of power and servant with authority from on high was arrested, beaten and nailed to the cross. The chief priests by way of deriding Him said “He saved others but he cannot save himself” – v. 31. What they did not know was that His refusal to save himself was a proof of His supreme sacrifice. There were three things they could not make Him to do that proved His ultimate sacrifice:
a. They Could not Make Him Speak. (Vv.4-5)
He didn’t speak because He would have saved Himself instead of humanity if He did. Thus His refusal to talk or defend Himself was so as not to escape death. What an extreme sacrifice!
b. They Could Not Make Him Take Narcotic (v.2)
They offered Him wine mixed with myrrh meant to dull the senses and ease pain but the Savior refused. He did not take because if He did He would have saved himself of the agony of the cross and the weight of the sin of the world. He resolved to taste death at its bitterness. What a sacrifice!
c. He Willingly Died (vv.17-18)
He didn’t die at the hand of murderers but of His own free will. At 9th hour He cried out loud and gave up the ghost. It was not a cry of defeat but of victory and shout of triumph and fulfillment of mission. He willingly died. What a supreme sacrifice!
The supreme sacrifice of Christ has a lot of implications for us:
He died because of our sins. Therefore we must not take sin lightly. We appreciate His sacrifice by running away from sin (Rom 6:10-12)
Jesus is a King whose reign is in the hearts of people. Therefore allow Him to be King in your life and in all you do.
Be purposeful like Christ. Don’t waver.
Be mentally alert to the will of God like Christ. Let it be nothing but the will of God.
Avoid compromise of any sort. It weakens character and testimony. God does not accept compromise concerning His son.
Avoid living to satisfy the crowd like Pilate, else you will not be able to please God.
Don’t be a mocker of Christ or the promise of His 2nd coming.
Jesus Christ, the King has authority and solution to all our problems. His cry with which He gave up the ghost was not of defeat but of victory. He won victory over sin, sickness, power of darkness. With His power you can be a conqueror.We shall be victorious over the pandemic that is ravaging nations through His blood.