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Calculating the Cost of Calvary

Once again, we hear the profound statement of Jesus, the Son of God, as he responds to Nicodemus, a

ruler of the Jews. He was inquiring about the validity of the miracles Jesus was performing. In response, Jesus

began one of the most significant assertions of the purpose and work of the Holy Spirit in bringing salvation to

humanity. In this nighttime visit, Nicodemus was baffled about what Jesus was stating, mainly when discussing

a new birth. “Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?” 

Jesus answered and said unto him, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” Then

after more discussion, Jesus made a comparative statement referencing the revered and honoured Jewish leader

Moses. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That

whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his

only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent

not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” 

How much do we understand the cost of the cross? It was a costly love with which Jesus loved us. Paul said,

“Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV) The value in

giving Himself up was that it cost Jesus His whole self, nothing less. Jesus existed from the beginning for that moment on

the cross; it did not take Him by surprise; it was all part of the divine plan. Yet this sacrifice does not save us unless we

grasp it for ourselves. We must ask God to open our eyes to the truth of this gospel. As the verse from Ephesians says, “He

loved us and gave himself up for us.”

We are humbled by the words of David Livingstone (1813-1873). After losing his wife, a child, his health, and a

comfortable future to serve as a missionary to the African peoples, he said, “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending

so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply acknowledging a great debt we owe to

our God, which we can never repay? Say rather that it is a privilege. I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to

talk of sacrifice when we remember the great sacrifice He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give

Himself for us.”

What does the word ‘sacrifice’ mean to you? In a consumer society where we are always encouraged to

want more, how can we practice sacrifice and take risks for the sake of Christ? In his second letter to Timothy,

Paul enlarges this idea of sacrifice. “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my

departure is near.” A drink offering brought wine before the Lord and poured it out at His altar. It was a way to

give wine to God, just as an animal might be given as a sacrifice. There was also a Roman idea here. Every

Roman meal ended with a small sacrificial ritual to the gods - a cup of wine was taken and poured out before

the gods. In this sense, Paul said, “The day is done, the meal is just about over, and I’m being poured out unto

God.”

Oh, my friends. Jesus Christ did not leave anything in the cup. Although he prayed, “…if it be possible,

let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” When he saw the price tag for Calvary,

He did not turn our salvation aside as a gift too costly. He picked up the greatest gift of all time for humanity

and walked up Golgotha’s Hill, and purchased our salvation, knowing the cost was great. But Jesus paid it all. 

Francis Mason

Pastor Mason

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