Monday, March 19, 2012

Supreme Sacrifice Day

Apparently March 18 is "Supreme Sacrifice Day." At least that is what my friend Brad Kautz told me. He found out through his monthly cultural diversity newsletter at his work. And included within the newsletter was a link explaining the day. According to it is an annual holiday to celebrate:

"the ultimate sacrifice made by some for the good of others. History is filled with examples of people who offered the supreme sacrifice for other people."

And they offer these examples:

  • "Jesus Christ gave the supreme sacrifice when he died on the cross for us.
  • "Soldiers in battle gave their lives to protect our freedom, our way of life, and to keep us safe.
  • "Fireman and police officers have given their lives in the line of duty, while saving and/or protecting people.
  • "More often than you think, a young man or a young women caught up in a love triangle, gave up the chase for the sake of their loved one."

Wait...what? Ok, I get the first one. I even get the next two. But not the last one. I realize that giving up on "love" can seem like the end of the world. But is backing out of a "love triangle" really on the same level as the first three? Does that constitute a supreme sacrifice? So just what is sacrifice from a Christian perspective?

Paul had something to say about sacrifice from a Christian perspective in Romans 5:6-8:

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God show his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Paul is saying that there are occasions when someone will give their life for another when they think that they are a righteous or a good person. We do see this in life and in the above list the soldiers, firemen and police officers are giving up their lives for what they see as a group of good people. These men and women give up their lives so that the people in our country can go on living. That is quite a sacrifice to pay and they pay it because they see our way of life–at least generally–as important enough for them to give up their own lives. It is the whole "truth, justice and the American Way" thing.

And it is also true for someone that gives up on their own hopes for someone else that they care about deeply. When we love someone else we are willing–or at least are supposed to be willing–to give up our own selfish desires in order to do what is best for both people in the relationship. So from that perspective I can sort of see how someone backing out of a "love triangle" can be considered a sacrifice.

But neither of these types of sacrifices even come close to the sacrifice that Christ paid. He is the only one that paid the Supreme Sacrifice. Paul makes it clear that Christ died for us when we we were still sinners. We might want to try and make the argument that are good people. But from God's perspective of being perfect are not good and we are most assuredly not righteous. When we sin we are rebelling against God. We are God's enemies. But Christ died for us anyway.

That means the only Supreme Sacrifice Day worth "celebrating" will fall on April 6. That is Good Friday. It is the day that Christ died for us. And what is even better is that we get to the real celebration three days later. Not only did Christ give up his life to pay for our sins but he also returned from the dead and is willing to give us eternal life. We just need to repent from our rebellion against God and to put our faith in Christ. Then Easter morning and the resurrection of Christ is our real celebration of the Supreme Sacrifice.

For more on Supreme Sacrifice Day you can read Brad's thoughts here.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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