In our Sunday evening sermons over the past several months we have looked at some of the great passages from the gospel of John. We are beginning to wind down this study, and looked this past Sunday night at the incredible story of the crucifixion of Christ. I made two applications to us of this most significant event.
The first is obvious—our salvation. It is the sacrifice of Christ that saves us from our sins. Without the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus there would be no response of faith, and there would be no hope of forgiveness.
Perhaps the second application is something we don’t think about as much. Jesus’ death on the cross not only brings about our forgiveness of sins, it also provides us an example and a purpose in living our own lives.
Jesus challenges us with these words: “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) Perhaps the apostle John remembered these words of our Lord as he wrote years later of the practical application of the sacrifice of Christ.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth…This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 3:16-18; 4:9-12)
Does Jesus’ death on the cross affect how you live your life? Does it shape how you treat others? Does Jesus’ death on the cross have an impact on your priorities and how you spend your money and your time?
If we look at the cross and see only our salvation—as important as that is—we have lost the other significant application, which Jesus Himself gave us before His life was taken: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)