And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.--II Corinthians 5:15 (NIV)
I think sometimes I forget that when Jesus died on the cross, He saw it all--He saw those of us who are alive now; He saw those in the past and those yet to come; He saw those who live in America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia....He knew about each one of us, and, though He would've died for just one of us, He indeed died for all of us. It's overwhelming, really. God loves us enough that He sent His Son, Jesus--and Jesus loves us enough that He died a cruel death on a cross so that we might live forever with Him. Simply amazing.
There is much to be said about the second half of the above verse, but I want to focus on the first part: He died for all. I was recently in Africa on a mission trip, and I went to both Zambia (among the poor) and South Africa (where I happened to be among the wealthier class). Going into the trip, I knew that I was ready to serve in Zambia. God has given me a heart for the poor, and I couldn't wait to love on them. And sure enough, it was all I imagined. I had a great time giving hugs and simply sitting with children. I enjoyed the people I met, the little ways I could serve....it was easy for me to imagine Christ dying for them, which in turn made it easy for me to want to love and serve them. It is easy for me to see their need for Him as they pray each day to have food to eat and a family that loves them. I get that part of "all."
But then I went to Durban, South Africa--and there I was confronted with a life very much like here. I was surrounded by people with beautiful houses, great schools, and plenty of food. I was surrounded by people like the ones I live near every day. And honestly, going into that part of the trip, I wasn't overly excited. I have never considered myself good at ministering to the upper/middle class. I know that they need Jesus just like everyone else, but I don't ever feel like I can relate or have the right words to say. However, God used this trip to open my eyes more fully to their needs as well.
We met women whose adult children had strayed from the faith. We met those whose children and parents were struggling with medical issues. We met those who were struggling with how to be kind to their coworkers. And as we prayed with them and for them, I feel like God reminded me, "I died for all--not just the ones who seem to need me because of their financial circumstance. I died for those who don't even know they need me, too. I died for the wealthy and the poor. I did it for every one of you...."
Though I knew in my mind that what I heard is true, I had to feel it in my heart as well. And I did--it took a lot of airplane time to get there, but God used a far away land to remind me that not only does "all" mean different races and cultures, not only does it mean the poor and needy, but it means those who are just like me, too.
How thankful am I that Jesus died for me--and that He died for people just like me as well. You see, poor or rich, weak or strong, old or young, we're all basically the same. We all need a Savior, and there is only One who can meet that need. He is enough--for every one of us.
Thank You, Jesus, that you died for all. Thank You for reminding me and for showing me another look at who You are and the depth of Your love for us. May we be found faithful in showing Your love to a lost and dying world....