I recently read a blog post by a self-professed atheist in which the author mocked Jesus using a fair amount of vulgar language. Looking back, I should have stopped halfway through, but for some reason kept going all the way to the end. To save you the experience I will not link to it or invite you to read it yourself. Sure, no problem. You’re welcome. Jesus is used to this sort of thing, I guess. Consider this passage from Matthew 27.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters and they gathered the whole battalion[e] before him.28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.
Let’s keep in mind it only got worse after this. Matthew goes from here to the crucifixion. The Bible explains Christ’s motivation for his suffering as love. One of several verses that point us in this direction is 1 John 3:16.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
It’s good to just keep this in mind. If we ever need evidence of God’s love or Christ’s commitment to show it, we just need to look at the cross. That was the punishment that we deserved and he took it on our behalf. Being fully God and fully man, the price he paid was of infinite value, enough to easily pay for the sins of us all.
Any sacrifice we make for others is nothing more than following his example and responding to his love. Any criticism or demeaning comments from others we endure for our faith only draws us closer to his example. Meditating on his love for us will make our potential sacrifice easier to bear.
Thank you Jesus!