And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
As presented on *The Lutheran Hour® by Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, March 22, 1959.
A Christian hymn writer called Christ’s death an “awful sacrifice.” It does call forth awe; the sacrifice God required was the death of His own Son. Christ’s death was not an accident; it was not just the death of a martyr. It was God’s deliberate act. Carrying out His eternal plan. With His eyes open, Jesus entered Jerusalem knowing that He was going to die.
Why did Christ submit to the brutality of crucifixion? Why did He feel the whole weight of God’s wrath upon Him?
This is what the whole story of His life and death is about: God made Him to be sin for us. Christ absorbed and attracted to Himself all the sin of all who have ever lived or who ever will live. He became sin in our place. Offering Himself as a sacrifice He was slain in satisfaction of the divine dictum: “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That stern requirement fell upon Him in all its fury.
Christ paid the penalty for you because He loves you. The only response to such love is love. The response to true love must be true love, or it is no response at all.
Christ held nothing back. His sacrifice was complete and perfect, a sweet-smelling and fragrant offering to God. Let Christ’s sacrifice move you to love as He loved, to give yourself as He gave. Let it kindle in your heart the pure flame of love, an offering fragrant to God because Christ, the Savior, has made it so.
Lord Jesus Christ, who in all innocence suffered crucifixion to save a dying world, lead us this day to look upon Your cross in deep repentance for misspent hours and years, and in reverent acceptance of Your loving self-sacrifice. Amen.
Taken from A Message of Hope: Proclaiming the Cross (selections from messages broadcast on *The Lutheran Hour, celebrating 75 years of proclaiming the promise).
Copyright © 2006 by Lutheran Hour Ministries
*The Lutheran Hour is the longest-running Christian radio broadcast in the world. It is a production of Lutheran Hour Ministries. For more information, visit www.lutheranhour.org.