"...Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." -Ephesians 5:2Have you ever thought about this verse?
"Christ loved us"- Jesus- perfect, sinless, fully God. He knew fully our hearts. And He loved us. The very people who hated Him. Christ is for us.
"and gave himself up for us" I love that picture. He gave Himself. He set His mind to go to the cross. No one took His life. He laid it down(John 10:18)! That's such control and strength. But why? To give Himself to us.
"gave himself up for us" He gave us not just a gift, but the gift: Himself. He gave us His righteousness. He gave us forgiveness from God's wrath. He gave us eternal life. He gave us joy. He gave us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper and guide. He gave us His Word come to life. He gave us His position with God in heaven. We are now partakers in His glory... The list goes on and on! It's crazy and amazing to think of all He gave us in Himself.
"a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God"- How have I never noticed this part of the verse before? His death was out of love. He died willingly. He died willingly for me. He took on the fullness of God's wrath. But here I'm seeing what's even sweeter: His obedience was a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. His obedience pleased God! It honored God. It delighted God and smelled sweet to Him.
Jonathan Edwards said it was "a holy act of obedience, an expression of love and respect to God and his glory, an act infinitely lovely in the eyes of the Father."
His death was for us. Out of His deep love for us. And we gain everything through it. But, though it was for us, it wasn't primarily about us. It was about God the Father and His glory. Jesus obeyed and honored Him fully. And it pleased God. And we benefit fully because of it. What a beautiful picture of our loving Savior.