One big thing
from Ed Morsey's sermon on Sunday, that has really made me pause to
think, is the big difference between someone who offers to sacrifice their own
life to save another, and one who sacrifices their child's life for the sake of
another. "For God so loved the world that He gave His One and
Only Son..." (John 3:16). There have been a few stories
circulating over the years about a father who was forced to choose between
saving his son or saving hundreds of others (e.g., the lift-bridge operator and
the coming train), but these stories are legends concocted by those attempting
to understand the excruciating decision that God the Father made to sacrifice
His Son, Jesus. And even these legendary stories fall far short of the
decision that our Heavenly Father made, for this was no accidental circumstance
that befell God, as with the bridge operator whose son fell into the gears of
the lift-bridge. God the Father made this decision deliberately before
the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5; Revelation 13:8).
God the Father did this for us! For you and for me! Because of His unfathomable LOVE for us! Many of us have serious doubts about God's love for us, but perhaps we should consider the endless depths of the sacrifice of His only Son. A sacrifice that has NO parallel and NO equal! As 1 John 4:9-10 states,
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Centuries before Jesus came to earth to fulfill this incredible sacrifice, God provided several foreshadowings of this sacrifice in His dealings with people in Scripture. Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22 is a big one, where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, but stopped Abraham from doing so right at the moment he was about to carry it out in faith. But the one we have been focused on recently is the tenth plague on Egypt, the Passover night, in which God destroys every firstborn son in Egypt in one devastating swoop. Yet, at the same time God spared (saved) every firstborn son among the Israelites who carried out the sacrifice of the lamb and spread its blood on their doorposts, as God had instructed them to do.
Ed Morsey helped us to begin to reflect on this deep foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus, who is called the Lamb of God throughout the New Testament. We will continue to reflect on this when I will speak about the Passover holiday that God instructed His people to observe every year as a solemn reenactment. Why did God institute this holy day and its customs? What were God's purposes for this? And what is the connection between Passover and the custom of Communion that Christians practice to this day? We will reflect on this on February 2.
This coming Sunday is the first of four Missions Sundays this year, and the Gospel (Good News) will be prominent in the sermon as Lois and Philip Cox will be sharing on Philippians 1:1-7. May the Lord continue to guide us and shape us as we reflect on the Good News this new year!
May God shine on you and through you,