For our sake Jesus accepted the charge that cost him his life
Years ago Bill Hybels told about seeing a newscast of a big Vietnam veterans parade in Chicago. Part of the commemoration was a mobile Vietnam wall like the one in Washington, DC, bearing the names of all the soldiers who had died there. Hybels said, "One newscaster asked a vet why he had come all the way to Chicago to visit this memorial and to participate in this parade. The soldier looked straight into the face of the reporter and with tears flowing down his face he said, 'Because of this man right here.' As he talked he was pointing to the name of a friend whose name is etched in the wall. And as he pointed to the name, he traced the letters of his friend's name in the wall. And he continued to answer the reporter by saying, 'This man right here gave his life for me. He gave his life for me.' As the news clip ended, that sobbing soldier simply let the tears flow without shame as he stood there continuing to trace the name of his friend with his finger." It was hard for that man to get his heart and mind around the sacrifice of his friend, so he kept retracing the story. We have that problem, too. There is, of course, someone who gave his life for me. I don't want to grow dull to Jesus' death for me, but I do.
That's why we have been shaping our observance of Lent around Matthew's account of Jesus' suffering—to remind ourselves again, Jesus died for me; he died for me.
Turn to today's text, Matthew 26:47-68. Our text last week centered on Jesus' agonizing submission of his own will to the Father's, while the disciples slept through their chance to do the same. The story ended with verse 46: "Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!" ...
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Lee Eclov is pastor of Village Church of Lincolnshire in Lake Forest, Illinois and author of Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers). Eclov also leads a gathering of pastors for mutual support and learning called Pastors' Gatherings. To find out more about these Gatherings visit his site www.leeeclov.com.