This week at Everyday Truth, we're celebrating Easter with a family devotional each day. Each one is designed to be used with your kids to take a look at a different aspect of the Easter story.
My oldest daughter made a sacrifice the other day. We had already scheduled her sister's birthday party for Sunday afternoon when we got an email saying my oldest had a soccer game at the same time. There was no changing the time on the party, and I really needed their dad and grandmother to help me out.
Instead of throwing a fit or being upset, my oldest said, "That's OK. You guys stay at the party. Granddaddy can take me." Not only was she giving up going to the party, but my oldest was giving up having one of us come to her game. And she did it without a fuss. She made a sacrifice so her sister could have something she wanted.
That's what sacrifice is. It's giving up something for someone else. Sacrifice is rarely ever easy. I know my oldest daughter would have preferred that we all go to her soccer game, but sacrifice nearly always results in something better. My oldest's sacrifice kept the peace in our family and made her sister very happy.
Easter is all about sacrifice. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. He chose to die on the cross so that we would no longer have to be separated from God.
Think of it this way. Take out a piece of paper and draw a picture of someone on one edge of the paper. Now, write the word "God" on the other edge. There should be almost the whole length of the paper between your person and God. That distance represents our sin -- the things we do that go against God's commands. Things like lying, saying things that aren't nice about people, not obeying our parents and stuff like that. We can never cross that distance on our own. We are stuck on one side of the paper while God is on the other.
Now, draw a cross between the person on your paper and God. The cross creates a bridge across the distance. Because Jesus chose to die, he closed the distance between us and God. He made it possible for us to have a relationship with God.
Jesus could have climbed down off that cross any time He wanted. He was, after all, the Son of God. Yet, he chose to stay on the cross and sacrifice His life so that we could be close to God. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice -- his life -- for you and me. He loved you enough to die for you.
Do you know what the Bible tells us happened when Jesus breathed His last breath? Check out Matthew 27:51: "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." The curtain of the temple separated the part of the temple where the regular people could go from the part where only the priests could go. The inner part of the temple was available only to a select few. The curtain separated most of the people from God. It was a physical representation of our separation from God. Yet, when Jesus died, that curtain ripped in half, signaling the end of that separation.
As you celebrate Easter this weekend, remember that it is Jesus' death that makes it possible for us to be close to God. Without His sacrifice, we would still separated from God. Thank Him today for His sacrifice that created a bridge between us and God.