A young girl weeps in the night. The scent of blood and animal excrement surrounds her. Nine months of anticipation have finally reached an end. Tears stream down her face as the labor intensifies. Never in her short life had she endured such pain. She reaches the point at which she doesn’t think it will ever end, and then she hears the sound. A baby cries a midst the gasps and exclamations of those who have waited so patiently for this moment. The shepherds bow in reverence to the little one they claim is a king.
The boy grows up learning an honest trade as a carpenter. His earthy father teaches him the skills needed to make a decent living. Even in the early years, they realize the child is different. He speaks of things they cannot understand. Crowds marvel at his teachings when he sits in the temple. The religious leaders of the era are nervous. People are starting to not only believe what the boy is saying, they are beginning to follow him around to hear more.
As the teenager reaches manhood, trouble brews on the horizon. He is baptized by the wild man preaching in the wilderness. A dove descends, and a voice from Heaven bellows out the praises of God’s son. People marvel in wonder as the scene unfolds before their very eyes. It’s like nothing they have ever seen. They fall to their knees in worship of the one who has come to save them.
Twelve men are asked to join the teacher on his journey to change the world, and they answer without hesitation. Something about the stranger draws them in with an energy and passion they cannot explain. What they couldn’t possibly fathom at that time, was the fact they would have front row seats to events no one in the world had ever witnessed. They have spent their lives on the seas earning a living. They would now spend their time with the author of life.
Never before had anyone challenged the wisdom and tradition of the sacred elders. The world was changing, and everyone could plainly see why. The man healed the sick, made the lame walk, and raised the dead to life. He publicly defied the religious leaders in their flowing robes and haughty tongues. He hung out with the poor and the dirty. He loved the ones whom society had already turned their backs on. He forgave when death should have been the only option. He ate with sinners, the worst people imaginable. He allowed the undeserving to wash his feet. He saw through the relentless testing from the ones holding the ancient scrolls. And he made it clear that he was, in fact, the long awaited messiah.
Threatened by the man’s followers and claims to be God, the religious leaders formed a plan to have him killed. This man, who had done nothing wrong, was brought before authority and treated as a criminal. He was beaten severely by the Roman soldiers. He was kicked, punched, spit upon, and cursed relentlessly. A crown of thorns was shoved into his skull. He was forced to carry a cross that would be become stained with his very blood.
The most horrific event in history was also the birth of an opportunity that had never before been offered. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins. Thus, saving us from a punishment we greatly deserved. He claimed to be God because it was the truth, and He was murdered for it.
Make His sacrifice mean something by living for Him.