My son and I just finished watching Season 3 of one of our favorite shows, Marvelís ďAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Ē In the season finale, one character makes the ultimate sacrifice and dies to defend his friends (and of course, save the world). He does this somewhat spur of the moment; a situation presents itself, someone is needed, and before you know it heís the guy. He didnít get volunteered. He didnít request the assignment. He just saw the need and filled it. He gave it all so that the rest might live.

Obviously parallels can be made to what Jesus did for us on the cross. The sin that entered the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit demanded payment. The payment that was offered was Jesus.

Jesus was fully human and fully God. He was born, lived a sinless life, and then was bruised, beaten, mocked and crucified by the very ones he came to save. The people crucified him for claiming to be what he was ó the Messiah. The very Messiah that they had waited for for so long came. In response they killed him. They murdered the Savior.

But even this killing was part of the plan of salvation. And thatís where our characterís sacrifice and Jesusí differ. God did not see a need and on a whim decide to send his son. Rather, he planned for this solution to come when he knew that human beings were going to turn from him.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God already had a plan of sacrifice and redemption in store for them. He never desired that humankind would perish. In fact, he wants all men and women to be saved with him for all eternity. That was his design in the first place. We are the ones who made the choice to rebel. He is the one who created the plan to restore us.

When we stop and consider the sacrifice God made for us ó sending his Son to die on the cross for our sins ó we must recognize that the plan was one that God had in place since time began. He knew we would stumble; he knew we would need a Savior.

It is in that Saviorís name that we pray and have relationship with the Father. It is by Jesusí blood that we are saved, and by his wounds we are healed.

Sometimes I think we take for granted the fact that Jesus died on the cross for us. Weíve heard it a thousand times and itís become common. But itís not. It was the most loving act that anyone could ever do. Take a few minutes today to thank God for your salvation, and thank Jesus for his sacrifice.

Kevin Daniels is pastor of Hays Christian Church. kevin@hayschristianchurch.org.