Definition of Sacrifice: Destruction or surrender of anything for the sake of something else; devotion of some desirable object in behalf of a higher object, or to a claim deemed more pressing;
One of the most beautiful acts of anyone is self-sacrifice. That’s how most ‘heroes’ are recognized. They do something remarkable which usually requires a sacrifice on their part.
Cup One – The Cup of Christ’s Fellowship
During the Last Supper, Jesus offered his cup to his disciples to have them drink. In this action, he offered them the cup of fellowship, the union of life with him. The disciples couldn’t understand the depth of what Christ was offering, and wouldn’t for a while later, but in some respects the cup foreshadowed their shared sacrifice with Christ. Jesus was saying, “Take this cup, remember me – what I’m doing, my sacrifice” so that they will draw from the same strength when it came time to drink the same cup. Of course, the disciples did not have to drink from the second cup – the cup of God’s wrath.
We all, if we are truly Christian, will in some way experience the joys and sorrows of drinking this cup. We will feel the persecutions, whether great or small, of being part of Christ – of living a life contradictory to the world. We will also receive his peace and joy by drinking the cup of his fellowship. Through the trials and pain, we are united to him, never alone, and have strength to persevere.
Cup Two – The Cup of God’s Wrath
Because Jesus drank from this cup, we will never have to sip it. So be thankful. The cost of drinking this cup was not only Christ’s gruesome death, but separation from his father. Jesus prayed twice in the Garden of Gethsemene, “My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me…” The thought of the pain and agony of the cross was only a shadow compared to the knowledge of being separated from His father. Throughout all of eternity, they were ONE. When Jesus was taken by the soldiers, the disciples began to scurry. When he was tried, even Peter denied him. As he hung on the cross, bearing the sin of His people, Holy God couldn’t look on His own Son. Jesus cried out, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” in essence crying, “Everyone else can leave me, everyone else can betray me, Daddy – but not you. Not you.”
The physical pain of the cross, the physical punishment of our sin was only a small picture of the immense desolation and excruciating loss of Christ’s sacrifice. For you…for me. This is love.
Praise be to God, Christ didn’t stay in the grave. Because of his obedience, victory was His, and consequently ours too. Now, as His dearly loved children, we are offered the Cup of Blessing – eternal blessing. Heaven is our future home and the Holy Spirit is our current resident in these bodies. We are given supernatural attitudes because of the sacrifice Jesus made: His peace, His joy, His self-control, His gentleness, those attitudes are offered to us as we drink this cup, and we grow in our knowledge of Him. Study, prayer, assembled & private worship. We become more and more ‘fit’ for Heaven. Not that our futures are not already secured. They are. But as we grow in our love for Jesus, our hearts develop an ‘otherworldiness’, maybe even a longing, for our Home.
It’s a beautiful thing to know to whom you belong and to revel in the love that is yours. The more we recognize and consider the great love of our Savior, the more we fall in love with the true Hero of our hearts. The Ultimate Hero.
12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.