The Ultimate Sacrifice
by Teresa Wiltz
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The movie, The Passion of the Christ recently aired and it had been nine years since I had last viewed it in an actual theater. I recall how the scene depicting the crucifixion of Christ was too unbearable to watch all the way through; however this time around, my eyes were literally riveted to every intense moment. As I sat gazing in utter shock at the brutal torture thrust upon Jesus, witnessing pieces of His fleshly body ferociously ripped to the bone; I could feel the numbness of my breathless soul briefly existing in a surreal time period dating back more than two thousand years ago.
There is no greater love that God has for us than to subject His one and only Son to suffer such an unimaginable death for the sake of our salvation. I am without words which will adequately convey the level of eternal gratitude filling every fiber of my being for this loving sacrifice beyond measure. The history of Christ’s crucifixion is common knowledge dating as far back as I can remember since being born; but to see it manifested in art form brings another realization to the manner in which He suffered. My heart broke from watching Jesus carrying a huge weighted cross on His back, bleeding through a crown of thorns, constantly receiving deathly blows to His bloodied body, and then finally while mercilessly nailed to a wooden cross, gasping to selflessly utter these words found in Luke 23:24~ “forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”
I do not believe the impact of how our Savior died ever really resonated within the clutches of my being prior to viewing this heartfelt movie once again. I continued to watch through gut-wrenching tears, witnessing the heavy drops of sweat and blood dripping off his face as He struggled to breathe these words—“Woman, behold thy son” and “Behold thy mother.” Even in the midst of enduring unthinkable suffering, Jesus still concerned Himself with the welfare of His family for whom He would no longer live together with in the flesh.
John 19:26-27—“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”
Two thieves hung on either side of Jesus, but the one to His right displayed a genuine repentant heart, who appealed to Christ to be remembered in the next life to which Jesus freely replied—“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This is yet another example of the unconditional love and forgiving grace that Jesus feels toward mankind.
Listed below are more words spoken by Christ in the final agonizing hours of His earthly life as recorded in scripture as well as being accurately illustrated in the movie:
Matthew 27:46—“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)
John 19:28—“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’”
John 19:30—“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
I understand that many of you are already familiar with this historical event which would ultimately change the hearts and minds of all who believe in Christ, but somehow watching it unfold with one’s own eyes is the truest form of art imitating life; and it is my hope that each of you will begin living your lives with a new realization that the greatest blessing of all time was achieved for us on the cross. Thankfully, this truth does not end with the death of Jesus, but it is only the beginning of eternal life through the gifted resurrection of Jesus Christ which occurred three days later. We as Christians are blessed with mercy and forgiveness of our iniquities through our heartfelt repentance and unwavering faith; which will ultimately lead us to everlasting living with our King—God Almighty!
John 20:31—“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
Prayer: Dear God,
I pray that like the redeemed thief who hung next to Christ during the final hours of His earthly life, that many present day sinners will come to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, who secured a place in paradise for all believers and for those who seek to obey Your commandments. Thank You Father for sharing the divine knowledge that Jesus is no longer in the tomb, but is now seated in the Kingdom at Your right hand.
Thank You Father for the ultimate sacrifice that we all have been blessed with and for granting us a second chance at eternal life through our reverent belief and the free will to choose obedience above remaining in bondage to all fleshly sinful desires of this world…in Jesus’ precious Name, Amen!
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