Jesus Dies Today – A Meditation on Philippians 2:6-11

Rev. Robert Miller, from his book Fire in the Deep, (Sheed & Ward, 2001)

The author Elie Wiesel, a concentration camp survivor, tells a story about his prison. Following the attempted escape of several prisoners, all the men were lined up to watch the hanging of a number of others in retaliation. As the bodies dangled in the air, one prisoner cried out, “Where is God now?” From the back of the lines, a muted voice responded, “He is hanging from that rope right now.”

As the death of Jesus Christ is re-told so powerfully again this Lenten season, the reality of sacrificial, redemptive death may be quite difficult for us modern-day Christians to relate to. No one in America dies for Faith today indeed few seem willing to truly “give” their life for anything of real substance or deep significance.

Yet the death of Jesus Christ continues to be the defining Reality for any believer. No one calling themselves a believer can enter heaven’s gates without confronting that Event, or walking through His death in a very real way. “I have been crucified with Christ,  and the life I lead is not my own.” (Gal. 2:19)

What may be surprising to you is the fact that Jesus continues to die today. Jesus dies and Life results – in countless ways and innumerable actions of self-giving every day. “Your attitude must be Christ’s: though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather he emptied himself …” (Phil. 2:6)

The utterly unselfish health care some people give to family members in their final days – Jesus dies, and Life flows.

The bold courage of those who take value-based stands in difficult moral circumstances – Jesus dies, and Life flows.

The quiet, daily faithfulness of those who choose a gentle response to anger instead of a vengeful retort – Jesus dies, and Life flows.

The slow dying to self of those courageous ones who serve others in service professions or ministry outreach without thought of personal reward – Jesus dies, and Life flows.

The very real martyrdom of hundreds of faith-filled believers in other continents whose lives were not as important as the values they stood for – Jesus dies, and Life flows.

No believer leaves this world without dying – both literally and figuratively. But the “deaths” we willingly choose before our final Day will be the most significant. “If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him.” (Rom. 6:8) By laying down our life in acts of life and love, courage and conviction, we too walk into new Life.

Can you say with the apostle Peter “Even though I have to die with you, I will never disown you? (Matt. 26:35) Or do you betray Jesus  again by indecision, lack of faithfulness, lack of moral courage in crisis times, self-focused desires for security and safety?

Could you die for Jesus today?Reflect long on the fact that Jesus already did – for you.

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