Chapel Speech 2

To be delivered in Japanese on Saturday, November 25.

When I Survey the Wondorous Cross

Exodus 12: 21-23: “Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.”

Recently at my church I heard a sermon about the significance of the first Passover that is described in Exodus. My pastor talked about all the different parts of the Passover: the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs, and the angel of death. The sacrifice of the lamb and the blood over the door were the most interesting parts of the sermon to me. It was at that time that I started thinking a lot about sacrifice. Sacrifice is a very important—maybe the most important—theme in the Bible. I want to talk today about three very important sacrifices in the Bible and about why God’s demonstrations of sacrifice are so important to us.

The story of Abraham and his only son Isaac is one of the first sacrifice stories in the Bible. In Genesis 22 we find the story of God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his first born son, Isaac. Abraham does not understand why God asked him to kill his only son—the child that God said would be the father of a great nation. However, Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham loved Isaac very much, but he loved God more—so much more that he was ready to kill his only son when God told him to. But at the last moment, God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice so Isaac would not have to die. The death of the ram was a substitute for Isaac’s death.

In Exodus 12, God kills Egypt’s first born sons so that Pharaoh will release the Israelites from slavery. In order for the Israelites to save their first born children, they must sacrifice a lamb. The lamb takes the place of the first born son. God told the Israelites to put the blood of the lamb over their doors so that He will not kill their sons. The Israelites were covered by the blood of this lamb, and they were hidden from God’s wrath.

The next important instance of sacrifice is when Jesus comes to earth. John the Baptist knows what Jesus will do and what He represents when he says: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John knew that Jesus would die to cover the sins of all people. God’s only son dies for us so we are hidden from His wrath. But since Jesus is not just a lamb, but a divine being, the power of the sacrifice is much greater. In Exodus, the Israelites were covered for only one night by the blood of their sacrificial lambs. God gave Abraham grace by providing a ram for Abraham to kill instead of Isaac, but the ram’s death was only a replacement for Isaac’s death and for no others. When Jesus was sacrificed, it was one time for all people-- now and for the all the people who will ever live in this world. Just like the blood of the lamb that covered the Israelites at Passover, Jesus’ blood covers us so God does not destroy us. That is not only a huge display of power, but a huge display of love. The Israelites only had to sacrifice an animal-- that is easily replaceable. Abraham was very close to killing his son, but God prevented it. But God did not give His own son such mercy. He sacrificed his first born son (God on earth) for humans who continually turn their backs to Him. We repeatedly do wrong in God’s eyes, and still He wants to redeem us. Why? The only answer is love. Love must be the answer. God’s sacrifice of His perfect son is the ultimate expression of love. My love for my parents, your parents’ love for you, a leader’s love for his country—these displays of love never come close to God’s love for us. God’s love is so perfect, so complete, as to require the death of his Son, Jesus. 1 John 4:9-10 says this: This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

So what is my response? How should I react to this knowledge? I suppose I could say “thank you,” to God, but that does not seem sufficient. No; I need to in turn give God my entire life. After all, He gave me His.


written by Ruthie @ 10:33 PM  
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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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