The Soapbox

A Personal Commentary by Mark Eidemiller

"To Die For"

For several years, I worked temp services for numerous businesses. While at one of those jobs, I overheard a co-worker declare that he would die for his family, but not for [then President] Bill Clinton.

Not necessarily with respect to President Clinton, but in general, this is a very common sentiment. People will give their lives for friends and family, but not for strangers or (God forbid!) enemies.

What if that had been Jesus' attitude on the cross? "I'll give My life for those around Me who stuck with Me, but not for those traitors who said they loved Me but now curse and mock Me! Let them burn in hell, where they belong!" That would have been the darkest day for all mankind.

Thank God it never happened that way. Jesus Christ died not only for those He considered friends (remember, even Peter said he'd die for Jesus, yet three times denied knowing him), but for those who crucified Him.

"Who killed Jesus?"
"We all did."

Follow me in a little experiment.

Look at your life. Find the time in your life when you were the lowest, the most despondant of life. When hope did not exist for you. When death itself would have seemed a merciful relief.

Got it?

Now multiply that by, say, ten per day. Carry it outward to make a full year, then the total number of years old you are, and toss in a number of years to the end of your lifetime.

Take that number and multiply it by the number of people currently on the face of the earth. Then take that number and carry it in both directions in time, from the beginning of time to the end of time.

I figure you've already given up trying to calculate this impossibly-large number. Good enough.

Imagine each of those despondant times to be a single sin.

Jesus Christ took all those sins on Himself as He hung on the cross.

Consider Jesus' condition:

He had been beaten by the Roman guards

A "crown" with 2-inch-long thorns had been forced down upon his forehead, drawing blood

He had been scourged with forty lashes (most men didn't survive that much!)

He was forced to carry his own cross up the long road to Golgotha

He was nailed to that cross, and hung up to die the most evil method of execution ever conceived

And yet, as impossibly weakened as He was, He still took upon Himself all the sins of all mankind:

  • "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. A men." (Galatians 1:3-5)

         "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the w hole world." (I John 2:1,2)

The darkness of all those sins upon Him caused Him to be separated from the Father:

         "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)

And still, His reaction was not what would have been expected by fleshly man:

         "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." (Luke 23:34)

Why? Because of love. How? Because of love.

I killed Jesus Christ. And you killed Jesus Christ, whether you wish to acknowledge it or not. It was my sins He took upon Him those centuries ago. And your sins. And those sins separated Him from His heavenly Father. He died with those sins upon Him, the perfect sacrificial lamb.

Why? Because of love. How? Because of love.

Who should we be willing to die for? Even the ones who persecute us, or those who may eventually kill us. We have the ultimate example to follow, and not to follow means we don't want to be like Christ. You gotta take the good with the bad, and that me ans giving it ALL up.

Why? Because of love. How? Because of love.

Easy? Yeah, sure! Dream on. Necessary? Yes. It's only through Christ we can do it, as we give up ourselves and submit to His authority in ALL aspects of our lives.

Why? Because of love. How? Because of love.

What about you, my friend?

Any comments? Feel free to email me.
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