I have been feeling a lot of pressure for the last few weeks due to organizing our cross country tour and a huge concert as well as working to meet some of my major business deadlines for this year. All of those demands, including the daily pressures of being a wife, mom and coach to many created the perfect storm this month.
Last week especially, I began to complain inwardly about how much I was sacrificing while doing the things God had called me to do. I was careful not to speak about it much, but my mind was having a field day reminding myself of how much was “on my plate” and all the other things I would like to do with my time –
Like sit on the beach, legs crossed, listening to worship music and reading one of my favourite books on the planet although that book would probably have my face in the sand praying and crying out for the city that beach is in ;)
I allowed myself to become overwhelmed, became sluggish about my output and gave in to lies that had been playing themselves over in my mind. Lies about my inability to finish all that was left for me to do, on time.
I would’ve continued down this path and wasted the entire month working with a sour heart if it wasn’t for God’s graaaace and mercy!
I was in a prayer meeting at church this week where my Pastor spoke on the values of godly leadership and Jesus began to rock and challenge me with the example of His life and leadership.
He reminded me that pressure and sacrifice are necessary parts in fulfilling destiny and also, that He sacrificed more through His life than I could ever try to match.Pressure and sacrifice are necessary parts in fulfilling your destiny. Don’t run away from the pressure, embrace it. Learn to thrive!Click To Tweet
What He said during that time was more than one blog can handle so I will share it in three parts.
Today, we are going to talk about what you need to know about Jesus’ life of sacrifice and in parts two and three, I will share with you “The Necessity of Sacrifice In Fulfilling Your Destiny”.
Now I know many of you want to hear about the necessity of sacrifice in fulfilling your destiny (which will explain how this relates to you). However, you will not be able to receive what I will say there without the foundation that is being laid in this blog, so read on, and pay attention.
God values sacrifice.
How can I make that statement? When God wanted to show us the express image of Himself, what He would do and look like on the earth, He showed us His son Jesus Christ.
One of the distinguishing factors of Jesus’ life was His willingness to sacrifice – over and over and over again. This is exactly where Abba began to deal with me and where we will start today.
Jesus Christ made more sacrifices
than our minds can even understand.
He didn’t just talk the talk, He walked it.
Jesus’ Sacrifice in – Incarnation
It all began when He chose to leave His rights and privileges as Deity. The second part of the Trinity. The son of God, glorious in holiness and fearful in praises.
He became a man and laid aside the fullness of His glory to wear this frail, broken finite skin.
Think about the glory of Jesus when John saw him in the first chapter of Revelation. Or the time when Peter, James and John saw Him transfigured on the mountain.
Both times, they were so overwhelmed by the Jesus they saw, they fell to the ground. That was a tiny glimpse of the glory He chose to lay aside for the sake of the work He had to do on earth.
Jesus’ Sacrifice in – How He lived
During his life, He made it very clear that He did nothing for Himself. Instead, He lived in such a way that God would get the maximum glory through His life.
…”My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work”…
…”the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner”…
Let’s look at one day in the life of Christ to understand just how much He gave of Himself.
In Mark 1, He began His ministry in Galilee, and after preaching, He had to choose disciples – think of this as the administrative part of ministry work ;-). Then they went to the synagogue.
There, He immediately entered the task of teaching the scripture to the people who were present. That alone was so powerful that all the people who were in the house were shocked by His authority.
While teaching, someone who was oppressed by an unclean spirit spoke up. So He did what you would imagine, He set him free from that spirit, and kept on teaching. No biggie.
After that, he visited Peter’s house and before Peter’s mother-in-law could serve them, He healed her of a fever that had her on a sick bed.
“That evening, they brought to Him ALL who were sick and those who were demon possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.” [Emphasis added]
Hm. Ok, let’s picture this scene guys. This wasn’t a placid crowd of observers casually stopping by to greet a new visitor in their town.
They were hungry, broken, sick, desperate and demanded His time. They needed healing and the more He healed the more they grew in numbers, the hungrier they became and the more they required of Him.
And still He gave.
He poured out everything He had and more. Not one complaint, not one murmur.
He had the most dejected members of the city rammed at his doorstep begging to have an opportunity to see/touch/hear the one who could (and still can) heal any disease.
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” [Emphasis added]
You would imagine that the crowd at that house kept him up until pretty late in the night, yet he made the sacrifice to wake up early and seek God, speak to His Father and see what He had planned for them for the next day.
But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.
Now imagine, just as things were getting hot. Just as He was becoming the latest craze, He left.
He wasn’t there for fame. He shunned the honour of men, the flattery “everyone is looking for you” fell on ears that were already in tune with God’s voice over men’s opinions.
He sacrificed the tempting flattery of being needed to obey God’s call and go where He was sending Him.
And this picture of His day wasn’t a one-off occasion. It was what He did. Peter later said this of Him,
Jesus’ Sacrifice in – His Death
And as if all that is not enough, He didn’t just live a sacrificial life because of love, He died a sacrificial death.
Until today, the death of Jesus Christ is still the most powerful portrayal of an ultimate sacrifice. What a person is willing to do for the sake of those He loves- God the Father and us sinners.
So let’s take a peek into His sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”
And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?
Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” [Emphasis added]
You have to understand-
Jesus is fully God, but He is also fully human. Even in His perfect human nature, he struggled with accepting the separation from God, torture and shame that was waiting for Him at the cross.
He was about to drink the cup of God’s wrath for all of humanity and it was not a trivial thing.
When He prayed “Let this cup pass from me,” He was in a battle with His flesh over its desire for self-preservation and comfort. The struggle was real:
Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. In Luke’s version he noted that Jesus was sweating blood- which is a sign of extreme agony .
Jesus Christ knew the sacrifice He was about to make.
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31
It was going to be more than physical; it would be spiritual and emotional.
Jesus knew that God’s will was to crush Him, to allow Him to be “pierced for our transgressions” and wounded for our healing (Isaiah 53:5–10).
Yes Jesus loved God enough to want this, He loved YOU enough to do this.
At another time, He said –
“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” John 12:27-28 [Emphasis added]
Can you imagine that?!Jesus knew that dying on the cross was the purpose for His coming to this earth and when it was time, He did it. He fulfilled His purpose.Click To Tweet
When He prayed, He said, “If it is possible.” If there was any other way to redeem mankind, He wanted to take that other way. But we can see that there was no other way;
His death was the only possible sacrifice to redeem the world (John 1:29; Acts 4:12; Hebrews 10:14; Revelation 5:9).
Also He prayed, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Which shows us that in the midst of His sacrifice, once again, it was about the will of God. He was completely committed to God – body, mind, and soul.
In Gethsemane, Jesus conquered His flesh. He made the ultimate sacrifice anyone can ever make. He gave His life for the sake of others. He demonstrated what love really looks like.
He lived and died for the sake of love.
And He calls us to do the same.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
In the midst of such a heart-wrenching time of commitment for Christ. A time where He chose to follow God’s path even when it killed Him. He went back to his closest friends – Peter, James and John and found them unable to stay awake for one hour to pray with him.
They weren’t just lazy. When Luke described that moment, he said that they were “sleeping from sorrow”. That means they had wept themselves tired.
Yet, He could not find them waiting and pressing through the pressure with Him.
And the same thing is happening all over the body of Christ today.
Click here to read the next blog in this series, where we talk about the necessity of sacrifice for you to fulfill your destiny and what Jesus’ example means for us.
What stood out to you from the first part of this series?
Why does Jesus’ sacrifice mean something to you?
What would you add to this discussion about the sacrifices that Jesus made on our behalf?