“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
The sacrificial system in the Old Testament really set the stage for Jesus in the New Testament. Exodus 12 shows us a picture of the Israelites in bondage in Egypt. They were instructed to slaughter an unblemished lamb and then put the blood over the door. The blood of the lamb served as a sacrifice and allowed the plague to “pass over” them.
Just as we were in bondage, Jesus shed His blood so that sin could pass over us, taking us from “Egypt to the Promised Land”.
He didn’t just “make” the ultimate sacrifice, but He “was” the ultimate sacrifice.
If we take a look in Romans 5 we see that Christ died for us, even when we didn’t deserve it. Verse 7, lets us know that most people wouldn’t even die for a good person. Verse 8, follows up with showing us how much God loves us that He would die for us, even while we were still sinners.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8
I feel as if that is the true definition of sacrificial love… surrendering yourself for those who don’t deserve it. This may not always mean death. Jesus’ death on the cross was not the only sacrifice He made… While it is the greatest, He made many other sacrifices as well.
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
He not only had a sacrificial death, but His whole life was a sacrifice. He lived His life as a sacrifice. Jesus came to serve others. Even though He is the King of the world, He lived such a lowly life… a life of continual sacrifice.
So now we have a choice. We have a choice to live a life of sacrifice… a life like Jesus.
And really this is what we are called to… We are called to “take up our cross daily” (Luke 9:23). We are called to “go into the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). We are called to be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:18-21
Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. The plan was set into motion even at the beginning of time. He died so that we could live. He showed the greatest act of love, by sacrificing Himself. The best thing of all is that His love still remains today. And because of His love, we can also love.