Summary: Jesus is the ultimate offering. Do we receive and accept God's offering to us? Just imagine, God who requires spotless offerings gave us the very best.
Offerings: Laying Down Our Lives
(From illustrations) On Wednesday, January 13, 1982, an Air Florida Boeing 737 jet left the National Airport in Washington, D.C., during severely cold weather. Moments later it hit the 14th Street Bridge and crashed into the icy waters of the Potomac River. This accident claimed lives of seventy-eight people.
Immediately after the crash six passengers held to a piece of the plane, trying to stay afloat in the icy water. Helicopters from the Coast Guard and Park Police came to rescue these survivors. They lowered a lifesaving ring. One of the men caught the ring and five times handed it to his companions. All five made it safely into the helicopter.
As the helicopter returned for a final trip to rescue this man, he disappeared beneath the water. The survivors did not even know his name. He gave his life that they might live. What was it that made this man offer the life line to others even though it cost him his own?
Over the past three weeks we've been looking at what the Bible says about offerings and sacrifices and God's blessings. We saw how Cain and Abel's offerings revealed two kinds of hearts, and that offering as worship is not to be taken lightly. We saw how Abraham was called by God, tested by God actually, when God told him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham passed this test with flying colors and God blessed Abraham for his obedient offering with promises and benefits that we are still enjoying today.
So... from Cain's attitude of offering what he pleased to Abraham's example of offering what God required, we discover that our offerings reveal our relationship with God and also test our relationship with God. God wants us to know Him, to experience our relationship with Him. Offerings assist us in this. God wants us to be like Him. And God is the ultimate giver of offerings.
Did you know that our very salvation rests on an offering? It ought to amaze us that it is not our offerings that save us but God's offering for us and in our place that save us!
Jesus Christ is God's offering. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ was given to us as an offering from God... why? Because we needed a Savior. We could not save ourselves.
Jesus' offering is extreme. His offering is His own body and blood. I have to say it. I know we know it. But hear it again. Jesus offered His own body and blood for you to rescue and deliver you from certain eternal punishment.
Jesus said in John 15:13 Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Let's read Romans 5:6-11
We understand an extreme kind of love offering for those who are close to us. For example: A fire breaks out in a home where a mom and dad with children live. As they escape from the burning house the parents realize to their horror that one of their children is still inside in the flaming building. What will mom and dad do? Family love drives us to extremes during times of crisis. We understand that.
Does the name Shannon Wright ring any bells? It's been about 14 years.
It was March 24, 1998, (the year we moved to Signal Mountain) in Westside Middle School near Jonesboro, Arkansis. A total of five people, four female students and a teacher, were killed at a school shooting. Ten people, nine students and one teacher, were injured. The perpetrators of the shooting were two students, 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson, and 11-year-old Andrew Golden, who were shooting in an ambush style from the woods in camouflaged clothes.
On the night before the shooting, Golden assisted Johnson in loading his mother's Dodge Caravan with camping supplies, snack foods, and seven weapons (two semi-automatic rifles, one bolt-action rifle and four handguns), which had been stolen from Golden's grandfather's house. The following morning, the boys drove in the van to Westside Middle School. As they arrived, Golden pulled the fire alarm then ran back to the woods where Johnson had taken the weapons. When the children and teachers filed out of the school, the two boys opened fire. They killed four female students and one teacher and wounded ten others. Shannon Wright, was the teacher who was killed in that incident. Witnesses said that when the shots rang out and she realized the danger she jumped in front of the children to save them. In doing so she was shot and killed.
On her mind was one thing. Save the children. She offered her life to protect them and gave hers in doing so.