“For a small moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you” (Isaiah 54.7 MEV).
Ten years ago, my family took a vacation to ski at Beaver Creek in Colorado. One of the days, my husband and our boys skied the mountains. So my four-year-old daughter at the time, Kiki, and I decided to walk the quaint town and check out all the local shops. We found the cutest kids’ store, and my daughter’s eyes filled with awe.We walked into the store; and dolls, toys, clothes and other colorful, fun items surrounded us. I told her she could buy one thing. Then we discovered that they also had an ice cream stand. Kiki loves ice cream, and she instantly began to make her way to the counter. But as she walked to get her yummy scoop, she spied a small, stuffed unicorn. I had told her a bedtime story a few nights before about a white unicorn with rainbow hair who ate sugar for dinner and would fly her through blue skies and clouds. She loved the story, and when she saw the unicorn, she had to have it. I knelt and reminded her she could have only one thing from the store. She could have either the ice cream or the unicorn. I assumed she would choose the ice cream, but to my surprise, she chose the doll. “Okay,” I said. She’s all yours. We purchased the unicorn, and she named her Raspberry.
Ten years later, that doll is the only one she kept from her childhood. She won’t give it up—even after giving away almost everything from her younger years when she turned fourteen. I realized that it was the sacrifice that made the doll valuable to her. She sacrificed a momentary pleasure for something more lasting.
And that is what Jesus did for us on Easter. He sacrificed the pleasure of being in relationship with God for a moment, so we could be reconciled back to God. As Jesus hung on the cross, He said nothing about the pain He endured and nothing about the sin He became on our behalf. Instead, He cried out: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27.46 NIV). Jesus in essence took our forsakenness—our separation from God. He became sin, giving us His righteousness, and for a moment God had to look away from His Son because He can have nothing to do with sin. Jesus gave up the pleasure of being connected with God for a moment for something more lasting – offering salvation to the world through His sacrifice.
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (John 10.18 NIV).
Thankfully, though, three days after Jesus gave up His life, He took it back up again. He resurrected on the third day, leaving sin behind in the grave and returning to the right-hand side of His Father (Mark 16.19). And now because of His sacrifice, we have the pleasure of being in relationship with God forever if we accept the special gift of His Son, Jesus.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10.9 NIV).