Jesus’ Sacrifice of Love
April 5, 2023
“It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” Luke 23: 44-47
Yesterday marked the beginning of Holy Week, the week leading up to Jesus’ death. This week includes many significant events, many of which we have walked through in devotionals over the past few weeks. But each event was part of a greater story and had a larger purpose. The triumphal entry, last supper and time in the garden, were all in preparation for Good Friday, the day when Isaiah’s prophecies were fulfilled as Jesus, our Savior was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5).
Luke 22:47-23:49 gives a detailed account of Jesus’ last day. From his arrest, to the betrayal by friends, to his trial before Pilate and final crucifixion, each part is included. As we read, we can only imagine the pain and suffering endured. By the time Jesus is led to the cross, he has suffered emotional stress, physical pain from multiple beatings, a sleepless night, and exhaustion. Yet despite all that Jesus experienced, he willingly walked to Calvary. There, alongside two criminals he died for our sins and our salvation. Even in his pain and exhaustion Jesus’ love never failed. Love kept him on the cross and love led him as he prayed for his executioners, saying “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Just before Jesus died, Luke tells us that darkness covered the place and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. The temple curtain divided the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, where the High Priest would enter once a year to atone for the sins of the people. When the curtain split, it signified the removal of the barrier between God and people. In his death, Jesus removed that barrier for us.
After the curtain was torn, Jesus called out in a loud voice “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” and he breathed his last (Luke 23:46). As one commentator says, the fact that Jesus could raise his voice at all, when others in his position could barely gasp for breath, showed that he was still in control of his ultimate destiny. He freely gave himself to the very end.
Jesus sacrificed himself; he endured pain, suffering and death so that we could be reconciled to God. As we walk through Holy Week I invite you to take time to reflect. Reflect on the death of our Savior. What does it mean to you that Jesus endured so much out of his love for us? How does the knowledge of Christ’s death change the way you live your daily life? What is God calling you to do in response to the sacrifice he made?
Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice on the cross. You endured mocking, pain, and death so that we might be reunited to the Heavenly Father. You removed the barrier for us and because of that we have grace and forgiveness in you. As we walk through this Holy Week, may we humbly reflect on your sacrifice and let it impact the way we live. As we contemplate your suffering may we have hope, knowing that death did not have the final word. In your name, we pray, Amen.
Blessings in your week,
Spiritual Care Coordinator
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