Hebrews 9:26b-28 But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

What is a sacrifice? Often we use the term loosely, and it has almost come to a time when it has no meaning. There are 2 chief uses in the world, one has to do with baseball, and the other has to do with what parents will do for their children, which the parents call sacrifice.

In baseball, a hit that advances the runner, thatís a sacrifice, you are out, but the runner advances, you give up getting on base. And in baseball that is a large sacrifice.

When it comes to children, almost anything a parent chooses to do, with a view towards their children, can be called a sacrifice. So parents may work extra hours, to buy something special for the child. Parents may give of their time, either in ferrying children to and fro, or being present at the important events in a childís life. The problem is that we have come to an age were parents have begun to think that anything they do is a sacrifice, forgetting that there is an obligation to do many of the ordinary things, just because that is what a parent does. Doing what you are obligated to do is not a sacrifice. Duty is not a sacrifice. Keeping the commandments is not a sacrifice.

What is a sacrifice?

An offering to God of something precious involving its destruction or complete surrender.

In some ways the definition only raises more questions. For the first question is, offering, what is an offering? An offering is something presented, with out any strings attached. An offering is not an exchange or a trade. And that is why in some sense, parents really cannot sacrifice for their children, for the wonderful things that they do, are repaid in love, affection, honor and respect.

An offering is something you give to God, and leave in his hands to do with as He wills. It is not an offering to throw something up in the air, and tell God he can keep what he wants. An offering is not parking the car in the garage, and telling God, if you really want it, you can come and take it. Why, because in neither case have you completely surrendered it to God.

Continuing on, for something to be a sacrifice, it has to be precious. So a penny is rarely ever a sacrifice, unless it is all that you have. A Sacrifice is never given from surplus, for surplus means that it is not precious, but ordinary. So for it to be a sacrifice, we must surrender something precious, knowing that it may well be destroyed, but to completely let it go, with no strings attached.

When someone dies for another, that is a sacrifice, they give up their life for the sake of another. But if I die, what is the merit in that? My life is already owed on account of sin. And that is what makes Jesus death on the cross such a special sacrifice. His life was not owned on account of sin, so when he offered up his life, he was offering something precious. But what is more, Jesus was not just a man, he was also true God, and our creator, and that he should give up his life to save his creation -- that is a sacrifice. So Jesus put all into the hands of the father, and surrendered his will and his life to the will of the Father. When Jesus died, there were no strings, there was not even a guaranteed outcome. And thatís what Jesus was willing to do for us sinners, so that we might be set free from sin, from death and the devil -- that we might have life, and hope and forgiveness of our sins.

Today we consider the terrible price Jesus paid for our sins, and we remember his suffering and death, and his sacrifice. And we find ourselves moved by an incredible love what would do such things for us, while we were yet sinners. The words from the cross echo across time, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.