The Sacrifice

In the shepherd leadership world, we speak often of sacrifice. In fact, sacrifice is what separates shepherds from servants. Service is the act of doing something for someone, while sacrifice is the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. Biblical leadership requires both service and sacrifice, with surrender to the Father key to influencing others well. You can imagine, then, why a recent Seedbed Wake-Up Call devotional, The Sacrifice, captured my attention. Be encouraged to take a few moments to either listen here or read Susan Kent’s thoughts surrounding I Peter 2:23-24. May her reminder that sacrifice, like that of our Good Shepherd’s, is required in even the most difficult of situations, along with the Holy Spirit’s promptings challenge and stretch you…

 

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you.

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.

 

WORD

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:23–24 (NIV)

 

CONSIDER THIS

When choosing a hero, my mind dreams up images of warriors. Men and women who have protective clothing and perhaps a shield or specialized weapons at their ready. My heroes stand in a position of offense, knees bent, body leaning forward, where at any moment they will spring into action to defend themselves against the enemy. But this is not the image Jesus offers us. The image we are given of Jesus is that of a sacrifice.

 

He took the insults, ridicule, and hatred of others. In case you think their insults bounced off Him like Ironman, be sure to read carefully. He suffered. Being fully human and fully divine, Jesus felt the pain inflicted by others. He heard the hatred and He felt the abuse. And when He suffered, He did not return evil for evil. He entrusted Himself to God.

 

The English version of this passage loses a little in translation. The word for entrusted is written in an imperfect tense, which means we should read “he continually entrusted himself each time” to God. Jesus did not experience being hurt just once. He didn’t stand His ground just one time and He didn’t declare victory after one attack. He repeatedly surrendered Himself. When an animal was offered as a sacrifice, it was physically surrendered. Jesus became the sacrifice and surrendered His life for us.

 

Our lives are not only an altar, but we are to share in the sufferings of Christ which means we also offer ourselves as a sacrifice. There will be times when we feel the pain of insults and we are wounded by others, but our response is to mirror the response of Jesus. We must spiritually, emotionally, and physically surrender ourselves, entrusting our lives to God. The Greek word for surrender is paradidomi and it means to commit, yield, and entrust. In many ways, I see the kingdom version of surrender as an exchange. When we entrust our lives to God, He gives something back. When we commit our ways, He fills us. When we yield our wills, He directs us. When we entrust ourselves to the Lord, He gives us life. It is only in the upside-down nature of God’s kingdom that surrender is encouraged. In our world, most of us would rather have the body armor and the weapons because our culture says surrendering means losing, being defeated, being the weaker person. It’s being put into the loser bracket. And yet, it was from a posture of surrender that Jesus won eternal life for you and me. By His wounds, we are healed.

 

There’s a reason our superheroes have protective clothing and specialized weapons. Without them, they are merely human. They can be hurt and even die. On our own, when people hurl insults and hurt us, our natural desire is to return the favor by throwing it back. However, our supernatural defense comes through the Spirit of Christ who showed us how to embrace a life of surrender and entrust our response to God. We offer our own sacrifice and we receive the Lord’s salvation.

 

THE PRAYER

Lord, You have shown us that the strongest position we can take is the position of surrender. We entrust all that we have and all that we are to You. Amen.

 

QUESTIONS

  • What comfort do you receive when you read, “By his wounds you have been healed”?
  • In what ways can you view surrender as a position of strength?
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Presence Point

Presence Point equips leaders to intentionally live into their calling as shepherds in the lives of those they lead, and partners with multipliers to do the same within their sphere of influence.

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