I know. I couldn't believe it when I read it either. Celebrate because Christ was sacrificed. That is not the first response that comes to my mind when I think of Christ's sacrifice. The first? Guilt. Shame. Then it moves to gratitude and thankfulness. But celebrate the fact that Jesus was sacrificed seems so awkward. And then you start thinking about it and begin to see that to continue to feel guilt and shame is not to worship Christ in the manner that is fitting for a gift that is so precious. Look at these verses:
- Hebrews 12:2 - ...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
The joy set before Christ as he hung on that cross was the great cloud of witnesses, of which we are a part of, that would have access to God because of his sacrifice. Jesus' prayer in John 17:24 would become possible and answerable because of his sacrifice on the cross. Jesus wanted us. He loves us (read about his amazing plan of salvation in Ephesians 1:3-10).
Think of it this way. It pleased Jesus to save us. It was his pleasure to do so. Can you imagine him throwing a party for everyone that came to know him (I guess this could be heaven)? When you arrive, you see Jesus laughing and celebrating, walking around and greeting all of his guests. Then you look over in the corner and there is one person ignoring Jesus, ignoring everyone, and obviously distraught at the scene. They are depressed and covered with shame and guilt. The party goes on but they continue to sit in their guilt. That's the picture that comes to mind when I don't celebrate in the sacrifice. When I sit in the corner, sulking and pouting over what Jesus willingly took upon himself, I am not giving him worship that is worthy of him or his sacrifice.
So, CELEBRATE today!!! When you feel guilty, STOP IT! Kool and Gang had it right: CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!