WHAT THE CROSS MEANS TO ME by Ray Pritchard “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.” Romans 5:7 Here’s a good question for you to discuss over lunch today. How many people are you willing to die for? If the chips were down, the moment came, and in a split second you had to make a decision, how many people would you be willing to lay down your life for–with no hesitation or reservation? For most of us, the list would be small indeed. Your parents, your children, your husband or wife, and perhaps one or two very close friends. But that’s about it. As I thought about it, my list is very small. In the first place, you never know until the moment comes, and you pray never to be put in that agonizing position. But what if you were? We’ve all read those heroic stories where someone gives his life to save a stranger. This week I read a story about a mining disaster. Two men were trapped in a mine. They had two oxygen masks but one had been broken in the collapse of the walls. One man said to the other, “You take it. You’ve got a wife and children. I don’t have anybody. I can go. You’ve got to stay.” The one man voluntarily died so the other might live. When we hear a story like that, we feel as if we’re standing on holy ground. And indeed we are, for such sacrifice is rare indeed. But Romans 5:7 is telling us that God’s love is not like that. Sometimes friends do indeed die for their friends. As great as that is, God’s love is much greater. We can at least understand what those people did when they sacrificed themselves for those they loved. But God went far beyond what we would do. We would never think of doing what he did. The wonder of the gospel is not that Christ should die for us–though that would be wonderful enough. The wonder is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners, still ungodly, still powerless, and still enemies of God! He didn’t die for his friends. He died for his enemies. He died for those who crucified him. He died for those who hated him. He died for those who rejected him. He died for those who cheered as the nails were driven in his hands. We would never do anything like that! We might die for our friends but never for our enemies. But that’s what Jesus did for us. One day when I felt lonely I asked, “Lord, how much do you love me?” “This much,” he replied. Then he stretched out his arms, bowed his head, and died.