As one reads through any of the gospel accounts it becomes rather clear that Jesus came to this earth to die for the sins of the world (Mt. 26:26-28; Jn. 10:11). Jesus loved humanity enough to give his life for us while we were still sinners and enemies of God (Rm. 5:6-8). There is endless hope for those that will accept the invitation of Jesus and embrace him in obedience as their savior. However, we as individuals may often feel small and insignificant as it relates to the sacrifice that Jesus made, and we may often feel that our sins have been “too bad” for us to be redeemed. Or perhaps there are times when we don’t feel as if our everyday struggles and concerns are important to God, after all he does have a universe to run.
Jesus had a messenger in the 1st century named Paul who was writing to defend his position as an apostle of Christ in a portion of his letter to the churches in Galatia, and in the defense of his authenticity as an approved messenger he writes: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 emp. added). I want to take special notice of the fact that Paul highlights that Jesus gave himself for Paul, especially. Had Jesus died for the world? Absolutely! However Paul saw that Jesus had died for him specifically.
I encourage you to reread that verse and where it says “me” plug in your name. When we remove the personal aspect of what Jesus did on the cross from our individual lives, we miss out on something special. In a world where we may be just another number among many or just another face in the crowd, Jesus the Son of God died especially with you and me in mind, and that fact alone should give us the courage to carry on from day to day. When we think that nobody cares about our hurts and pains, it is always helpful to remember that Jesus died for us and if he would experience a horrible death like crucifixion and be humiliated publicly for us all those years ago, most assuredly he cares for us even now. Jesus assured a crowd on one occasion that even the hairs on their heads were numbered by God (Mt. 10:29-30). Remember that while Jesus died for the world he also died especially for you.
It has been said that if you were the only person on earth, Jesus would have still come to earth and given his life for the forgiveness of your sins. The scheme of saving mankind from their sins was in the mind of God before the world began (Eph. 1:4, Ti. 1:2). However, have you ever noticed that right after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the first prophecy of the coming savior is made in Genesis 3:15? There were only two people in the world, yet God had already put the plan of redemption in motion describing the redemptive work of Christ and the crushing of the serpent. If that had been you or me in the garden, God would have done the same thing. We can say, like Paul the apostle, that Jesus loved me and gave himself for me! The world we live in is prone to highlight the accomplishments of those who do extraordinary things and have extraordinary talent, and many times those who are enduring everyday trials and struggles feel forgotten, overlooked, and unimportant. You are not viewed as lowly and unimportant in the eyes of Jesus. He gave his life for you that you have the opportunity to have everlasting life.
John, in his account of the life of Jesus ends with these words: “But these are written, so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (Jn. 20:31). Again, did you notice the singular and personal nature of John’s conclusion of the life of Christ? While the New Testament letters were no doubt read publicly by congregations, there is still a personal appeal that Jesus wants you to have eternal life through his name by believing in him. As you go throughout this week, take personal refuge and confidence in the fact that Jesus cares about you specifically and that he died for you personally. Let this comfort you through life’s valleys, and allow it to humble you to live in a manner worthy of his love toward us. So when you hear the story of the Son of God who came from heaven to die for the world, you may be overwhelmed and ask, did he do that for little ol’ me? The answer is an emphatic yes.