28 November 2011

How far would you go?


Whatever our political persuasion, I think most of us like the idea of a ‘big society’. It’s one where everyone helps each other out. It’s like Christmas every day – an open season of goodwill to all. Nice idea! But there’s not much evidence we’ve got what it takes. How far would you go to help?

These days we struggle to care for our elderly relatives, let alone strangers or people we don’t get on with. The voluntary sector struggles now because it’s really hard to get people to leave the comfort of their homes even for an hour a week to help out.

Thank God for Jesus! The Bible tells us that he left the comfort of heaven to come to our aid. Moved by compassion for us, driven by selfless love, he abandoned the life he had enjoyed for eternity to come and save us.

How far did he go? One part of the Bible says this:

Christ Jesus, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be exploited,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death
even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2 v 5-8).

At Christmas, we remember that the Son of God left the height of heaven to become a lowly human, Jesus. At Easter, we remember that Jesus gave up his whole life as he voluntarily went to death on the cross. For us, he went so far as to sacrifice everything. He did this to help us, because on the cross he suffered the punishment that our sins deserved. He paid our death penalty for us, by enduring our judgment and execution instead of us. He took our place to break the power of death over us, so death need not keep its hold on us forever. Instead, in the same way Jesus was raised from the dead by God, so will all who belong to Jesus by their faith in him.

Driven by selfless love, Jesus was willing to go this far for us – to ‘the limit’ and beyond! The question is: seeing how far Jesus went for you, how far are you willing to go for him?

Would you be willing to be a follower of Jesus, and bear the shame as people laugh and have a go at you for being a Christian?

Would you be willing to give him a few hours of your week to walk around the corner and meet together with other Christians at church? Is that too far to go?