On the morning of 16th March 1912, Lawrence Oates walked out of his tent in the Antarctic and into temperatures of -400C. He knew he was going to die and this act of self-sacrifice was an effort to save his companions. Writing afterwards in his diary Captain Scott recorded, “We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman.” Sadly Oates’ sacrifice was in vain as his fellow adventurers became trapped in a storm and died from illness and malnutrition just 11 miles short of their objective.
Jesus too knew that he was going to die as he made his way into Jerusalem one last time, and he knew too that the sacrifice He was about to make was to save others. He told his friends, “I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
As with Oates Jesus’ friends found his plan of self-sacrifice hard to comprehend and were reluctant to go along with it. But unlike Oates Jesus knew for certain that His death would not be in vain, and that those He died for would be saved for eternal life.