Section 4: Jesus
Week 3: Jesus Came to Live and Die to Save Us from Sin
Day 1: Jesus’ Whole Life Was a Sacrifice for Our Benefit
Jesus came to earth and sacrificed himself in order to save us from our sins. When we think of his sacrifice, we typically think of the cross. But Jesus’ whole life was a sacrifice. Last week we looked at Phil. 2:6, which says Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” We noted that this verse doesn’t mean Jesus stopped being God when he was born. Rather, he willingly set aside the prerogatives he had in heaven to become human and come to earth. Even if he had done nothing else, that act of becoming human by itself would have been a huge sacrifice.
Jeni is a fan of the show Downton Abbey. If you haven’t seen it, it’s set in England in the early twentieth Century. It follows the life of the noble Crawley family, which is headed by Lord Grantham. Because everyone has British accents, the show seems very highbrow and intellectual, but really it’s just a fancy soap opera. Here’s the problem… I kind of like it.
Soap opera-ish story lines aside, it’s a fascinating look at life in that period of history. There are strict lines that must be maintained between the Crawley family and their staff. The two occupy different places in the social strata. The Crawlies are of noble birth. So they have privileges others do not. Times are changing, however. Following World War I, the power and privileges of the noble class are starting to slowly erode. And Lord Grantham doesn’t like it very much. He tries to hide it, but you can tell he is more than a little perturbed. He is an English Lord, and he doesn’t want to lose the prerogatives that come with it.
Suppose Lord Grantham willingly gave up all his money, lands, and titles—and all the honor and privileges that went with them—in order to become a lowly footman. That would be a big sacrifice for someone of his social status because it would be a huge “step down.”
Yet the step down Jesus took was infinitely greater because his status as God is infinitely higher. That’s what makes the Incarnation such a huge sacrifice. Jesus, as God, is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe. No one is entitled to more glory and honor than he is. Yet he willingly gave that up to become one of us, his servants. That means, by the time Jesus got to the cross, he had already sacrificed more for us than we can imagine.
Set aside a few quiet minutes and just try to envision the Son’s life in heaven before the Incarnation.
How do you picture it? What do you think it would have been like? How did that change at the Incarnation? What did Jesus sacrifice just by taking on a body and our limitations?