Characteristics of Christ | WILLING TO SACRIFICE
A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 36: Willing to Sacrifice (John 10:17-18)
When Jesus says in John 10 that he is "The Good Shepherd," it can sound sort of weird to our modern ears. To his original audience, though, it would have immediately triggered thoughts about one man - one boy rather - the shepherd boy who would slay giants, route armies, and become king: David.
It would be like someone saying, "I'm the Terminator." We all automatically think of a robot from the future in the skin of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What made David a good shepherd? What made David a good general? What made David a good king? He definitely wasn't perfect, but he will forever be remembered as "a man after God's own heart." What set David apart, among other things, was his willingness to lay his own life on the line.
He warded off threats to the flock by facing the danger head on. Most guys would run away from a bear or a lion, but not David. This same spirit drove him to take a stand against Goliath. It compelled him to lead his men into battle, not just call the shots from behind. It was only when he snuffed out this self-sacrificial attitude that he got into major trouble and destroyed lives.
A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. A good commander lays down his life for his soldiers. A good king lays down his life for his people. A loving friend lays down his life for his companions.
There's one particular story about David that intrigues me. David wanted to set up an altar to offer sacrifices to God in order to stop a plague. He approached a man about buying a particular piece of property for this. The man offered to give the property freely, and would throw in the animals for free, too. But David insisted on paying a fair price for it, saying, "I will not offer to the Lord my God that which costs me nothing."
It's not a sacrifice if it doesn't cost you something. Jesus embodies this most fully by freely offering his whole life as a sacrifice to overcome the plague of sin and death. Paul urges us to follow in Christ's footsteps by offering our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord.
Say it with me: "I will not offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing."