Not many people remember William Dawes. Unless you are fluent in American patriotic history, his name has no significance, no fame, and no story attached to it. On the other hand, if I were to ask you to tell me about Paul Revere, you would be able to tell me about a midnight ride, the lighting of lamps, and the shouts of, “The British are coming!”
Interestingly, both men did the same job. Both set out from Boston on horseback. Both sent alarms to cities along the way to warn of the impending battle. Both traveled great distance at great risk to themselves to warn their countrymen. Both were eventually arrested by the British. Yet, we remember one and not the other.
Sacrifice is sometimes memorialized and other times forgotten. Jesus’ sacrifice is no different. Sometimes we remember it. It is easy to remember the sacrifice of Jesus when we are breaking bread.” We often sing songs like The Old Rugged Cross, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, and Beneath the Cross of Jesus. We hear lessons presented on the pain and shame endured through crucifixion. We recognize it as being of first importance (i.e., 1 Cor 15.3-4). We understand and remember this great sacrifice in our prayers.
Yet, despite these regular and constant reminders, we sometimes forget his incredible and loving sacrifice.
We forget when we choose to sin. Jesus died to get rid of our sin. He died so that we might sin no more. He died to remove our guilt, and when we choose the passing pleasure of sin instead of the enduring love of Jesus, we forget what He has done to make us clean.
When we are distracted from worship. No matter how many reminders we have built into our worship to keep us focused on the loving sacrifice of Jesus, we find ourselves distracted from worship. We might eat the bread and drink the cup, but are we thinking deeply about Him? Is our grocery list, our schedule, our selfish indulgences more important than giving Him the credit and focus He is due? Yet, often those things will take precedence in our minds over our worship.
When we forget the weightier matters. Jesus was clear in His teachings that there are weightier matters of the law (e.g., Matt 23.23). Sometimes, it is more important to love our brethren than to prove them wrong. Sometimes, it is more important to support and encourage than it is to be funny. Sometimes, it is more important to cry with someone than to avoid his or her misery. Weightier matters are what Jesus excelled in and so should we.
When we forget to tell others. The real purpose behind Jesus’ sacrifice is that He wanted to “seek and save the lost” (i.e., Luke 19.10). He died and came back from the dead because it was necessary to eliminate guilt and God’s wrath. If we don’t tell others about Jesus’ death and resurrection, then we make his sacrifice null and powerless in those unlearned people’s lives. If we want Jesus’ sacrifice to be powerful and effective, then we must tell the world about Jesus! Don’t let Jesus be forgotten in your lives and in the lives of those you love. Instead, make Jesus’ sacrifice be the very center focus of your life as you emulate Him. His sacrifice is worth remembering today and every other day.