Mr. Patel of California made sure that Adrian Mercado got a special memorial.
Adrian is not a family member of Mr. Patel’s or even a friend or an acquaintance. They were complete strangers. Why should he care if Adrian is honored?
Mr. Patel had a serious problem. His kidneys were failing. He was on dialysis and his health was declining rapidly. His only hope was to get a kidney transplant, but 22,000 other people were on the waiting lists in California for transplants. Time was running out.
Then Adrian Mercado, age 33, died. Adrian was an organ donor. Adrian’s kidney went to Mr. Patel, literally giving him new life.
Mr. Patel now has a great appreciation for Adrian and his gift because he knows how desperate his own situation was. Because he knows how dire and dangerous his circumstances really were, Mr. Patel places a huge price tag on what Adrian did for him.
Mr. Patel’s deep personal understanding of how serious his problem really was gives him an abounding appreciation for the precious solution, especially considering the great cost to Adrian.
Jesus voluntarily went to a Roman cross and gave his life as an atoning sacrifice, tortured and beaten, bleeding and dying. He endured not only the physical pain, but also the humiliation and shame of his enemies mocking and taunting him publicly. Moreover, he paid the price for sin, bearing that heavy burden on behalf of God’s people.
If we do not believe that sin and death are great threats to ourselves, then Jesus’ sacrifice is not only meaningless, it is utter foolishness. Why sacrifice himself in such an awful way for no good reason?
The Bible assures us that sin is a terrible problem with eternal consequences, and Jesus’ sacrifice is a powerful solution more than equal to the challenge. In the book of Romans (5:20) we read that where sin increases, God’s grace increases even more. God’s grace is greater than our sin.
But if our sin is miniscule, then God’s grace seems tiny. As sin is redefined and trivialized by our culture, Jesus’ sacrifice is apparently robbed of its eternal value. The result is not only apathy toward the church and the gospel, but open hostility.
When we realize, however, what a terrible threat sin and death are, then we begin to appreciate Jesus and his crucifixion. He became a curse to remove the curse from us. The more we appreciate our great need, the more we appreciate God’s great grace in Christ Jesus.
Our appreciation for God’s grace is measured by our devotion to Jesus Christ and his gospel. We know that his sacrifice is precious beyond measure. We want to honor him through our worship of God and service to his kingdom.
We don’t worship and serve the Lord because it endears us to society or because it makes us feel good about ourselves. We worship and serve the Lord because his great grace in our lives moves us to honor him to the fullest degree.
May God always inspire and empower us to bring glory to his Name,