9 Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
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.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
The reward is not because of the tithe, but because of the understanding & attitude in which it is given.
In John 3:16 we see God’s sacrifice, in essence his tithe or offering to the world he created. In the natural world there are those that sacrifice their lives for the lives of others and the world makes heroes out of them. War heroes are often awarded their rewards posthumously and they are never resurrected to see the outcome or consequences of their sacrifice. In civilian life we see also that there are many heroes. There is no doubting the bravery and courage of those that sacrifice their lives for others in this world and it is certainly right to recognize and respect their actions. Some survive their selfless acts others do not, but ultimately all die as a result of the sin legacy of Adam.
Jesus’ sacrifice was real. He came as a man in the flesh he lived a life which in many ways was normal. His countrymen could not come to terms with the fact that he was a miracle worker. To them, he was just the “carpenters son”.
Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.
Being a carpenter was not necessarily one of the most prestigious professions (if he was). He was not a scribe or a Pharisee, not was he a member of the elite with access to the road to the priesthood. He was a nobody really. Scriptures tell us he was not even a good looking man to be desired and he was despised or without any great value in the society of his day. He didn’t marry, which would have been extremely unusual for the firstborn of a household. There were probably many that knew him as he grew up that would have thought he was a little unusual. Maybe some would have tried to provoke him with the “you’re getting older you know, when are you going to get married?” It was the expected thing of the first born son, to produce heirs to carry on the family name. We have no idea of what kind of an answer he gave, but it more than likely left people wondering. Jesus lived with the knowledge that he was the sacrificial lamb. Jesus did the unexpected!
Day by day the world at large becomes more and more offended by Jesus. The so called believers wait for the appearance of an AntiChrist, and yet we are surrounded by them and they think they are winning. One day he will again do the unexpected.
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
Jesus knew the terrible things he was going to have to go through, and we see the result of that stress when he was praying in the garden. It is called HEMATOHIDROSIS, and is a very rare condition most often caused by extreme stress. So we know that Jesus knew what kind of suffering he was about to undergo, and was probably consciously aware of it for most of his natural life. His Father also knew what his son was about to go through. For a natural father to be in the same position would be quite a traumatic experience, and worse, because there would be no resurrection. Both God and Jesus knew the final outcome of Jesus’ actions, but that would have had little effect on the pain and suffering that Jesus actually went through. Jesus asked to be released from the burden, “Take this cup from me” he asked, but knowing full well that is was not his father’s will.
Every stroke of the whip would have been real pain, exactly the same pain that we would suffer if we personally received the same whip stroke. Roman scourgings were without pity and often those enduring it died. The flesh was flayed from the back and most times exposed muscle and bone. The mocking, the crown of thorns, ripping his beard from his face, carrying the crossbar for the cross, which was not nice smooth planed wood. It was rough and heavy. The anticipation of the nails being driven into his wrists and feet, and then actually having it happen. The people were amazed that Jesus survived to actually live to be crucified. The process of crucifixion is without any doubt the worst kind of punishment one man can inflict upon another. Everything that happened to Jesus before he was crucified was mild compared to what being crucified actually does to the human body, and it could take days to die.
My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord;
neither be weary of his correction:
For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth;
even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Chastening, is to correct. Jesus took the correction that we were very deserving of. It has greater significance than that as it was a singularity in the realm of the spiritual world. God removed the inevitability of the punishment for sin and gave in exchange the very real possibility of eternal life. Never again will Jesus offer himself as a sacrifice for our lives. The cross was the most shameful punishment a man could have dealt to him. It was reserved for the worst of the worst.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Never again! Jesus and God willingly set out to pay the price for our lives out of their love for us. Living with the knowledge of what was going to happen must have been extremely traumatic, but knowing the result may have tempered the emotions somewhat. What knowing could not do was eliminate the reality of the pain to be endured. The pain of the moment, both emotional and physical. It was going to hurt just as it would hurt anyone else. The reality of death and the separation from God was gong to be the same for both of them. The feeling as Jesus was hanging on the cross and darkness was over the whole earth must have been horrifying. The words that Jesus spoke at that time were filled with anguish and despair.
Jesus’ Death (Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-30)
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
The loneliness and despair must have been overwhelming. We can’t imagine the sense of loss at that moment, just as Jesus is about to die! How would we feel in the same circumstances?
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Sacrificing and giving are both premeditated actions. Giving is not necessarily sacrificing, as we can give something that is surplus to our needs and we will not miss it. Sacrificing is the act of giving something that has real value to us and something that we will miss. Sacrifice has long term consequences for us, both in terms of loss and gain. Giving does not necessarily have the same consequences.
For reflection. Do you sacrifice, or give? Or perhaps you are just a taker!