It is because Jesus was the ultimate example of the faith God calls us to in Hebrews 11. Jesus’ faith in God was so strong that he was willing to give over his entire life in complete trust to his Father. Jesus states,
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life.” (John 10:17)
Jesus understood what it meant to have complete faith in God. As a result he spent his life sacrificing his own will to the will of his father.
Most crucially, Jesus had faith enough to submit to God’s command that he give up his life on the cross. Jesus had the faith to believe God could raise him up again from the dead and that God would reward him for his faithfulness. He said,
“I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” (Acts 2: 25 – 28, quoting Psalm 16:8-11)
God calls us to follow Jesus’ example. The Bible tells us,
Be imitators of God therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
In order to please God, we need to sacrifice our own lives to God just as Christ did. And how do we live our lives as a sacrifice like Christ did for us?
We need to sacrifice our own will to the will of God. We need to stop thinking of what is best for us and think instead of fulfilling God’s larger purpose with the Earth. Jesus’ faithful life of service and willing crucifixion are the perfect living examples of the faith God is calling us to have. It isn’t until we give ourselves fully to God, rather than our own selfish desires, that we will begin to understand what it is God wants from us.
But it wasn’t just in Jesus’ death on the piece of wood that he sacrificed his life to God. Jesus’ entire life was an act of sacrifice. He spent his days caring for others and teaching them God’s word. He put the needs of everyone else above his own. His entire life was an act of faith in God as he exchanged his own will and desires for those of his Father.
Dutch version / Nederlandse versie > Hoe heeft Jezus zulk een plezier voor God gedaan
2013 update + 2016 update: