He Made Himself Nothing
Dr. John K. Mathew
Late in the fifteenth century, two young wood carving apprentices in France confided to each other their desire to study painting. But this plan would take money, and both Hans and Albrecht were poor.
Finally, though they had a solution. One would work and earn money while the other studied. Then when the lucky one become rich and famous, he in turn could help the other. They tossed a coin and Albercht won.
So while Albercht went to Venice, Hans worked as a blacksmith. As quickly as he received his wages, he forwarded money to his friend.The months stretched out into years - and at last Albercht returned to his native land, an independent master. Now it was his turn to help Hans. The two men met in joyous reunion, but when Albrecht looked at his friend, tears welled in his eyes. Only then did he discover the extent of Hans’s sacrifice. The many years of heavy labor in the blacksmith’s shop had calloused and bruised Hans’s sensitive hands.
His fingers could never handle a painter’s brush. In humble gratitude to Hans for his years of sacrifice, the artist, the great Albert Durer, painted a portrait of the work worn hands that had labored so faithfully just so that he might develop his talents. He presented this praying hands to his devoted friend.
Today, this masterpiece, a symbol of friendship and sacrifice, is familiar to millions of people throughout the world. This is a best example of human sacrifice. Sacrifice played a central role in many ancient religions. Throughout history sacrificial offerings have consisted of various animals, fruits, flowers, vegetables, and even human beings.
The Aztecs, for example, offered as many as twenty thousand human sacrifices each year to their sun god. The Greeks sacrificed animals such as goats or cattle, sometimes eating the sacrifice in a ‘celebratory meal’ in honor of their gods. Long ago the Chinese practiced human sacrifice and also offered animals and food to their gods and ancestors.
Since all religions practice and promote sacrifice what is the uniqueness of Christianity? What makes Christianity different?
The difference lies in the fact that in all other religions, man made sacrifices to please his gods, here God made the great sacrifice of sending His Son to die for a sinful world. John records this, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’.
A greater sacrifice can be seen in Jesus’ willingness to obey his Father’s will. In the words of Apostle Paul, ‘Christ Jesus, who being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice is great than this.