As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and that his death and resurrection offer us the hope of eternal life. But what does it mean to live for Jesus? How do we align our lives with his teachings and ways?
In the story found in Luke 23:13–25 and Matthew 27:15–23, we see how Jesus was falsely accused and condemned to death, despite his innocence. The people demanded that Pilate release a criminal, Barabbas, instead of Jesus. Pilate, wanting to please the crowd, gave in to their demands and sentenced Jesus to death.
This story reminds us that following Jesus may not always be easy. Jesus himself said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Living for Jesus requires us to deny our own desires and submit ourselves to his will.
Lining up our lives with Jesus’s teachings means living a life of love and service to others. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), and he demonstrated this love by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and spending time with those who were marginalized by society.
Offering our whole lives as an act of worship to Jesus means living each day with the intention of honoring him in all that we do. We can do this by being honest in our dealings with others, by showing kindness and compassion, and by seeking to serve others rather than our own desires.
Living for Jesus also means being willing to stand up for what is right, even if it means going against the crowd. In the story of Jesus’s trial, we see how the people were swayed by the opinions of others, and how they demanded the release of a criminal instead of the innocent Jesus. We must be willing to stand firm in our faith, even when it is unpopular or goes against the prevailing culture.
May we all strive to live lives of love, service, and sacrifice while standing up for what is right. May we honor the innocent one who died on the cross for us by living our lives in a manner that pleases him.