What Sacrifice?

Across the nation and around the world, in the houses of faith and the minds of the faithful, much is made of the sacrifice of Jesus, and the reverence and devotion that is owed for it. The greatness of that act, and the obligation attached to it, is the very foundation of religions followed by billions today, and countless others throughout history.

Yet it’s genuinely difficult to imagine a less noble or meaningful sacrifice than the crucifixion of Jesus.

That’s because Jesus could only have been one of three things — a conman, a madman, or the son of God. Any of which utterly void any notion of real sacrifice or meaning in his death.

If he was a conman, and his claims of messiahship and godhood were all lies, then his death truly meant nothing. Because there was no truth in anything he said or claimed to be. Indeed, given the millenia-long fallout from his lies, the all-too-human conman Jesus surely got what he deserved in his bloody and painful demise.

If he was a madman, and he was truly convinced of the lie of his godhood, then he went to his death fully convinced that he was dying for the salvation of billions, if not trillions, of souls living and yet to live for all time. And he was doing so with the absolute certainty that he was a true deity. Which meant that in the mind of the madman Jesus, his death was no real death at all, and never could be.

If he was the true messiah and son of God, as he eventually claimed to be, his sacrifice was even less meaningful than that of the madman. Because if he was what he said he was, he knew for real and actual fact not only that his death would serve those countless souls, but also that he could never truly die, and that his supposed demise was merely a charade that would end with the theater of his resurrection and ascension.

The sacrifice of one life to save another is supremely noble and honorable. A soldier who lays down his life for a comrade, a mother for her child, one stranger for another — these are timelessly meaningful acts of unimaginable courage, and worthy of rememberance.

But the sacrifice of one life for literally countless souls for all time? With the knowledge that the so-called sacrifice is nothing of the sort? That nothing is at risk, and nothing will be lost? And, more than that, knowing that that infinitesimally small act will result in nothing less than the subject being worshipped by billions, for thousands of years to come?

That is a “sacrifice” that even the least, most craven, and most unworthy among us would make without hesitation.

Because that is no sacrifice at all.

And for nothing, nothing is owed.

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