Burnsville Seven-Day Adventist Church
By Pastor Ed Couser
Greetings! Happy New Year!! Last week I read an article about an earthquake that startled villagers living on a Japanese seashore over one hundred years ago. They were accustomed to earthquakes, and would soon settle back into their normal activities. One day, after another earthquake hit, above the village on a high plain, an old farmer was watching from his house. He looked out to the sea, and saw a wall of water approaching. His one thought was to warn the people in the village. He called his grandson, “Bring me a torch! Make haste!” In the fields behind him lay his great crop of rice. Piled in stacks ready for market, it was worth a fortune. This elderly man hurried out with his torch, in a moment the dry stalks were blazing. Then the big bell rang in the village below: Fire! Everyone in the village came! They came to try to save the crops of their neighbor. As they reached the plain, the elderly man shouted at the top of his voice, “Look!” He pointed at the sea. At the edge of the horizon they saw a long, lean, dim line. This line was the sea, rising like a high wall and coming swiftly toward them. Then came a shock, heavier than thunder. The great swell of water struck the shore, sent a shudder through the hills, and destroyed the village. It struck again, and again, and yet again; then it returned to its place. On the plain no words were spoken. Then the elderly man spoke, saying gently, “That is why I set fire to the rice.” While his action did not make sense to the villagers at first, in the aftermath of the tidal waves, they recognized that his sacrifice saved 400 lives.
Over two thousand years ago on another hillside, another man made a sacrifice that saved countless lives. The Bible says, “Jesus suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9). Jesus tasted what everyone must taste – death. Jesus died for everyone, for you and me. But why? Jesus died so that we might live. As He looked at the tidal wave of our sin, from the cross, He willingly experienced the tortures of death, so that we might know the splendor of life. Let me ask you a question? Has anyone ever sacrificed for you? Parents, friends, employees, employers, teachers, relatives, neighbors, and maybe many others.
The sacrifice of Jesus did for us what we could not do ourselves. “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 15:21). The result of sin is that it separates us from God. God made Jesus a sin offering on our behalf. Jesus not only took our place, He took our sin. Jesus had to bear the weight and burden of sin alone in order for salvation to be complete. He died alone in order to save us. He identified Himself with us to make it possible for us to be forgiven and accepted by God. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark. 15:38). The veil was torn to symbolize that the death of Jesus had opened the way of access to Him for every person. (Heb. 4: 15, 16). Jesus made the way for us to come to Him, and as our heavenly High Priest, He applies the benefits of the cross.
What Christ has done for you and me, reminds me of the farmer on the plain who torched his rice crop so that the villagers were saved. Jesus is the Son of Man who died so that we might live. As we contemplate what Jesus has done for us, as well as what He is doing for us today; may the impact of His sacrifice and His High Priest ministry in heaven, challenge us to honestly evaluate our relationship with Him. And as we begin this New Year, may it be with a new resolve to be faithful to Jesus; He who gave His all. May His example inspire us to give our all, to love Him and live for Him. Let every purpose we form, every work in which we engage, and every pleasure we enjoy, be to the glory of our Lord. As we await his glorious appearing, may the language of our hearts be: I am thine, O Lord, to live for You, to work for You, and to sacrifice for You!
God Bless You,