About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Communal Concern Through Sacrifice

 

It was the Last Supper when Jesus shared the bread and wine with the Twelve.  Both elements were metamorphic representations of His sacrificial life.  From the moment Jesus was conceived in Mary's womb, was the moment His earthly existence would be sacrificial in nature, and why?  It is because the very essence of Jesus is sacrifice.  It's who He is.   

 

One thing I learn from the Last Supper is that sacrifice is front and centre of the Christian life.  The fact that Jesus, in symbolic form, was sharing His sacrificial existence with the Twelve, and then, asking them to share it with each other, tells me that each one of the Twelve was to be willing to sacrifice his will for others. 

 

Understanding the religion of self that permeates both the world and the church, the willingness to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters in Christ is not often seen.  When we, for example, exercise our western world's concept of individual rights at the expense of sacrificial concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we fail to exhibit the lesson of the Last Supper.  Biblically speaking, more fundamental than individual rights is the command to love, and Biblical love demands sacrifice.  In all we do, we must consider how our actions will impact others.              

 

The apostle John was one who participated in the sharing of Jesus' life at the Last Supper.  He wrote this in 2 John 1.

 

"The elder [John]: To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth ​ ​and not only I, but also all who know the truth ​ ​"

 

The word love in 2 John 1 is translated from the Greek word "agape," which expresses love that is demonstrated through sacrifice.  This tells me that the elect lady and her children, John, and those who know the truth, were living the lesson of the Last Supper.  Such communal concern means that all we do is not for the benefit and good health of ourselves, but for the benefit and good health of those to whom we are placed alongside in the Body of Christ.  It's how the world actually knows we are Jesus' disciples (John 13:35).      

  

To the degree, then, that we can exhibit the sacrificial meaning of the Last Supper will be the degree to which we will effectively be the Christians and the church we are called to be.  1 John 3:16 is another passage that makes this clear.

 

"This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."

 

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