And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
It has been over 70 years since a Japanese diplomat talked about the success of his nation's soldiers.
He said, "We do not worship our emperor; we love him completely. I have just been informed of a commander at Port Arthur who called for volunteers to cut the barbed wire, which was stretched out before his troops. He said to his men, 'You will never come back. You will not be allowed to carry a gun. You will only take a pair of cutters, run to the barricade and, if you are lucky, cut one or two wires before you are shot dead. Another will take your place and cut one or two wires more. But you will know that upon your dead bodies the armies of your emperor will march to victory.'" The diplomat continued, "Total regiments volunteered for these 'sure-death' groups."
These men were marked by love for their emperor. Nothing, not even death stood in their way of accomplishing their commander's mission.
I've thought about it. There aren't many causes or people for which I would be willing to lay down my life. You probably feel the same.
That's why our greatest joy should be that we know a Savior who was willing to lay down His life for us.
Jesus became our Substitute, our Sacrifice, so we might have life eternal. He gave up everything to save you and me from hell.
That was the cause for which He was willing to lay down His life.
Remember, if He had failed, if He had decided the cost was too great, if He had refused to take our place under the Law, there would have been no one forthcoming to take His place and cut the wires of damnation that separated humanity from heaven.
He was our one and only hope.
Thankfully, you and I, by the Holy Spirit's intervention, have been enabled and blessed to go to Bethlehem, to stand at the foot of the cross, to pay a visit to His empty tomb. We have seen how God has loved those sinners who didn't love Him in return. And we have stood in awe of that love.
Today, we who have seen Him give everything, so God's army of believers might march to victory in heaven, are able to thank Him with our words, our actions and our witness.
God grant we offer this thanks with a glad heart.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, there aren't many dedicated people in the world today. Everything is disposable. Help me recognize the sacrifice You have made for me. Then, may I be committed to You and the other important things of my life. And please, dear Savior may You always be the most important. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries