Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

Dave: Hey! What’s up? My name’s Dave.

Jon: I’m Jon. New in town?

Dave: Yeah, I’m the one who killed the giant. With a slingshot.

Jon: Right, right. Then you’ve met my dad.

Dave: Dad?

Jon: Yeah, King Saul. The Big Guy. I’m his oldest son.

Dave: Hmmm. You know Sam the Prophet says I’m going to be king?

Jon: Yep. Sam and I are tight. I’m on board.

Dave: You don’t mind?

Jon: Can’t say it will be easy, but Sam said I should honor God and do for you as I’d want done for me. So, I’m promising right now you’ll be king and have no problems with me.

Dave: But you’re the Prince of the Realm and the people love you.

Jon: Dave, let’s get this straight: For you to be king, I’m going to have to die.

Dave (pause): …there’s gotta be another way…

Jon: We’re living in ancient times. If you become king and I’m around, the first crisis that comes along, the people are gonna call for your head and they’ll want me as king. That’s how things work. For Pete’s sake, it’s 1000 BC!

Dave: Why does it have to be this way?

Jon: We blew it when we demanded a king. We were THE People of God and our “king” was the Law of Moses. We had judges anointed by God. Now, we’re like everybody else — Dad’s a monarch with autocratic power. Autonomous power puts the monarch above the law. I’m not protected by the Law any more.

Dave: So, if we’d kept the Law you’d have been okay?

Jon: Right. But the people kept whining, ‘We want a king! Look at the Philistines, Moabites, and Babylonians — they have kings!’ Sam was the only one who understood how stupid a king would be.

Dave: This stinks. So, for me to be God’s king, you, the Prince of the Realm, must die.

Jon: Listen, Dave. This all works out in the end. I’m more than thankful to play my part. I’m what you call a “type” or “analogy” of Christ, who’ll come along in the New Testament. How many people get to be Christ-like in the Old Testament?

Dave: You’re saying another prince will die?

Jon: THIS prince, Christ, is going to be from YOUR hometown and bloodline and will be the King of Kings. He’ll die for everyone, but God will resurrect him. He’ll fulfill the Law, conquer death, and reveal the Kingdom of God. We’ll all be joined together in him.

Dave: Jon, you’re the best friend a guy could have.

Jon: Christ’s gonna say,’There’s no greater love than this.’

Tr8: A friend loves at all times. We should sacrificially imitate Christ for others.

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There’s no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for others.

John the Baptist: Beheaded by Herod, 31 A.D.

Jesus of Nazareth: Crucified in Jerusalem, 33 A.D., but wouldn’t stay dead.

Stephen: Stoned, 34 A.D.

James (Brother of John): Killed by sword on order of Herod Agrippa in 44 A.D.

Phillip: Scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified in Heliopolis, Turkey, 54 A.D.

Barnabas: Stoned about 57 A.D.

James (Brother of Jesus): Clubbed to death in Jerusalem, 62. A.D.

Andrew: Crucified in Achaia, Greece, 60 A.D.

Peter: Crucified upside-down in Rome, probably under Nero in 60s A.D.

Paul: Beheaded in Rome, 60s A.D.

Matthew: Speared in the city of Nadabah, Ethiopia, 60 A.D.

Thaddeus. Crucified in Edessa, Greece, A.D. 72

Simon the Zealot: Crucified, 74 A.D.

Mattias (who replaced Judas):  Stoned and beheaded in Jerusalem.

Thomas: Run through with a spear in India.

Batholomew: Beaten with rods and beheaded, India.

John Mark: Dragged to pieces and beheaded in Alexandria, Egypt.

Ignatius of Antioch: Fed to lions in Rome, 117 A.D.

Polycarp of Smyrna: Six believers were scourged and beheaded. He was burned at the stake in the market, 155 A.D.

Irenaeus: Martyred in 190 A.D.

Pothirus, Origen, Justin Martyr, Cyprian…the list goes on an on. Some estimate Christians continue to die for their faith at the rate of about 450 a day.

Historical purists and others may say the historical record is unreliable.

They may be right, so, throw out half, two-thirds, nine-tenths, or all but the three (John the Baptist, Stephen, and James) recorded in the NT.

Historical records (secular and sacred) support the notion most of the men who followed Christ in life, followed him in death. As did many of the Disciples’ disciples. History is established by multiple witnesses triangulating an event to the satisfaction of the public. To varying degrees, these stories cleared the public bar.

The breaking trend in these lives is sacrificial dedic8ion and commitment to Jesus Christ, the resurrected Son of God. Whatever else can be said about Christ, he impressed his followers and they believed him.

They lived at risk.

They held nothing back.

They lived and died for Christ — for the one who died for them.

Tr8: Sacrificial love.

There’s no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for others.

How are you laying yours down today?