Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.” And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.
Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years. Judges 16:23-31 ESV
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. II Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV
In baseball, if there is a man on base and the batter wants to move him along to the next base, he might bunt the ball. The batter will usually be out, but while he gets thrown out, the runner will move along to another base. This is called a sacrifice, because the batter sacrifices himself so the runner can move along. There’s also a sacrifice fly. If a runner is on third base and the batter hits a high fly ball, the runner might be able to score a run after the outfielder catches a ball. Again, the batter sacrifices himself so the runner can score.
A baseball sacrifice is a very small picture of what Samson did. He was willing to die so that he could destroy God’s enemies who were praising their false god Dagon. God gave Samson his strength back one more time so that he could break the pillars he was leaning on and make the entire building the people were in crash down. Samson sacrificed himself to bring about the death of many Philistines who were oppressing God’s people.
The greatest sacrifice of all time was when Jesus gave up his life on the cross for all people. Jesus died so that everyone who believes in him could have eternal life with him. When Jesus hung on the cross, he might have seemed as weak as the prisoner Samson, but Jesus showed his strength by conquering sin and death on the cross. He proved it by rising again on Easter Sunday. When we believe in Jesus, we share in his death. We don’t die the same way the Philistines did in the building, but we die to sin, and Jesus gives us a brand new life in him.
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving your life for me. Help me to die to sin and to live for you. Amen.