May 8, 2011

Christlike Attributes: Sacrifice


As I have reflected over the atonement, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ this last Holy Week, I have thought a lot about the great love the Savior has for each of us. Nothing can compare to His love. As I thought of why I feel the way I do, I choose to comment on the Christlike attribute of sacrifice.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, each of the Christlike attributes are based on the concept of power; power that is given both to those who possess the attribute, and power to those who are the recipient of the attribute. Perhaps no other attribute can better explain this concept than the infinite sacrifice of the Lord and Savior.

The question I like to ask myself is why. Why are we commanded to gain the attribute of sacrifice? Why does the Savior have this as an attribute? Why is sacrifice so important?

I think the answer is quite simple to be honest. Why? Because from sacrifice comes the power of unity, love, devotion, and true oneness. When someone sacrifices something for another, they not only draw themselves to the other person, but they draw the other person to themselves. Think of someone who has done something great for you. Someone who has changed your life because what they have given you. Why are you drawn to this person? Why do you respect them? It is because of their selfless sacrifice on your behalf. It is because they showed that they would be willing to give up something important to them (whatever it may be) to help and bless your life.

One of the greatest examples I can think of is that of mothers. They literally are willing to give their life for the life of their children, and this enormous sacrifice draws them to us, and us to them. How grateful I am to my own mother, who not only was willing to give her very life for me, if needed, but also continues to give her life to me through her time, efforts, prayers, devotion, care, and love. Because of these great sacrifices, I am drawn to her, and her to me.

Just before suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His ultimate death on the cross, the Savior offered the great intercessory prayer, found in John 17. This prayer could be said to be the so called last will and testament of the Lord. His last desires before His tortures death. His last discourse offered in a form of a prayer. In this prayer, one of the major themes is that of unity or oneness.

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:9-11, 20-22).

One of the greatest desires of the Savior is that we become one with Him and the Father. The reason He performed His great sacrifice is that this could come to pass. As He gave His all, His very life, we are drawn to Him because of this great love He had. Think of the lack of power the life of Jesus Christ would have if He only healed the sick and taught of His Gospel. He would then stand with many other great prophets who had done similarly, but it was because of His giving His life for our sakes, that He is different than the prophets. He is different because He was willing to suffer for us that we might be redeemed from our sins if we but have faith in Him. He is different because He was not only willing to give His life, but to take it up again and bring about the resurrection of all. No other person in history can claim this level of sacrifice. No one.

Why is the atonement of Christ so powerful, because, as the word suggests in English, the atonement brings about our at-one-ment with the Father. Through His sacrifice we are drawn to Him, and He to us.

As we celebrate this Mother’s Day this year, may we reflect on the sacrifices our mothers have made for us, and for the unity that that sacrifice brings. May we likewise reflect on the Lord’s great sacrifice of all, that we might be at one with Him.

I know the Savior loves us. I know He cares for us beyond all our comprehension. I know that it is only through His grace that we are saved. I know that He lives. I know this because of the peace and love I have felt on countless occasions; a love which surpasses all things. A love that has brought me closer to my own at-one-ment with the Holy Messiah.

1 comment:

  1. Very moving, very interesting. Your sincerity and sincere feelings lead me to wish you had known your/our grandmother Isabel. She would have loved talking with you, sharing thoughts, questions, beliefs. Daily she read religious and philosophical books from different sources in her quest to find answers and understand herself and others and a wide variety of religions. She was deeply spiritual and would have delighted in a closeness with you in sharing your mutual thirst to learn about Jesus' true nature and teachings.

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