For Christians, this weekend is an extraordinarily important and solemn one. There is Good Friday, when commemorations are held of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on a little hill outside Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago. And then there is Easter, when Death itself was conquered through the Resurrection. Across the country and the continent, Christian denominations of every stripe will be hosting Good Friday and Easter services and reflecting on what these things mean.
The message of Good Friday in particular should remind pro-lifers and remind our culture of something essential: The unspeakable beauty of sacrificing for another. The Lord Jesus accepted a brutal and gruesome death—crucifixion was widely considered to be the most horrible way to die. And He chose that death for His people. He sacrificed Himself so that others could live. He endured unspeakable suffering to spare others unspeakable suffering.
The worldview of abortion activists is the mirror opposite of this message: It is your life, your body, and nothing—nothing—should stand in the way of your own fulfillment—including your own son or daughter. The Scriptures record the Lord Jesus as saying, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” It’s difficult to find something that contrasts more starkly with the mantra of the abortion movement: “My body, my choice.” Moving beyond the scientific illiteracy of the chant for a moment—obviously the child’s body is a separate one—the sentiment is a blunt one: I am first, and I am willing to sacrifice the lives of others to ensure that I remain first.
What a difference. In one worldview, sacrificing for others and loving them to the detriment of ourselves is not only encouraged, but demanded. In the other, tiny human beings can be brutally sacrificed, day in and day out, on the altars of our own ambition, selfishness, convenience, or fear. Think of others, one tradition urges. Think of yourself, the other says. And of course, which of these two messages is easier to hear? Which of them is easier to heed?
That is why the example of the Lord Jesus should fill us with so much unspeakable awe. I thought, as I was considering how to write this reflection, of something Kevin D. Williamson wrote in the National Review during Advent, after the abortion giant Planned Parenthood obliviously wished people a Merry Christmas. You’ve got it all wrong, Williamson told Planned Parenthood. Christmas isn’t about an empty cradle. It is about an empty grave.
That sums it up perfectly.