The Ultimate Sacrifice
It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “The half of my wealth,” was his reply. “And if I release your children?” “Everything I possess.” “And if I release your wife?” “Your Majesty, I will give myself.” Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man?” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you–the one who was willing to give himself for me.”
Illustration taken from Bruce Howell at sermoncentral.com
I. How God Sacrificed.
A. He gave His one and only Son. John 3:16 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
B. God wanted Jesus to have a dad. Matt. 1:20–21
C. God was interested in His progress. Matt. 3:16–17
D. God was “upset” when he died.
1. He couldn’t bear to watch. (i.e. the darkness) Matt. 27:45–46
2. His distress was evident. Matt. 27:51–53
Transition: Because of His extreme love for man, God gave the ultimate sacrifice. He offered up His ONE and only Son to bear the consequences of our sins, to be a substitute for our punishment.
II. How Jesus Sacrificed.
A. He gave up Heaven. Rev. 4 & 5
B. He lived in poverty. Matt. 8:20 20Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
C. He gave His life. John 15:13
Transition: God’s ultimate sacrifice for man was giving His Son to die in our place. Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice was giving up the glory and praise of heaven, for poverty, scorn, ridicule and death. The question remains:
III. Why does this matter to me?
A. All men are sinners in need of Salvation. Rom. 3:23
B. Salvation is available only through this sacrifice. Rom. 3:22–25a
A cartoon has been found on a wall in the ruins of ancient Rome showing how crazy the Christian message seemed to the people of that time. It’s a caricature of Jesus’ crucifixion, showing a man’s body hanging on a cross, but on the body was the head of a donkey. There’s also a figure of a young man with hand raised as if in worship. Underneath is the inscription, “He worships his God!”
A crucified God? If just defied all reason. The non–Christian says that God would never involve himself in a world like that! The Christian knows that His involvement was the only way we had any hope!
Illustration taken from Owen Bourgaize at sermoncentral.com