Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan Friar who ended up in Auschwitz because of his opposition to the Nazi regime. While there, ten men escaped from the prison camp. In retaliation, the Nazi guards decided that they would kill ten prisoners through starvation. One of the men chosen cried out that he had a wife and children to live for. Kolbe volunteered to take the man’s place and died a couple of weeks later.
Stories of self-sacrifice are moving partially because they involve an element of choice. One person decided to suffer for the sake of another. They did not have to do so. The same is true with the death of Christ. It is important to remember that God did not have to save humanity from sin.
Scripture is clear that once God decided to provide the opportunity for people to be saved from sin, the only way to make this possible was through the death of His Son. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). This prayer indicates that it was not possible for Jesus to avoid the cup of suffering and death if salvation was to be achieved.
That truth is why Paul can state so clearly: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Christ’s death on the cross for our sin was an act of love and sacrifice unlike anything experienced in the world before or after. Paul reminds us that Christ died for us when we were still sinners and ungodly (vv. 6–7). Because of what Christ has done, we can now have “peace with God” and “hope of the glory of God” (vv. 1–2).
>> Paul writes, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Have you received the gift of salvation that Christ has made possible? If not, why not trust Him today. Call 1-800-NEEDHIM if you’d like to speak to someone about faith in Jesus.
Dear Jesus, we are awed by Your love that saved us sinners, destined for eternal death. Your salvation gave us eternal life and peace with You. We ask You to continue the work of renewal in our hearts by your Holy Spirit.