A Thousand Times Spartacus
Let me explain my unusual title. This is a phrase that a friend and I came up with back in the day. We were both writers and musicians, and this was the product of some creative effort on which we collaborated. I've since adopted it, and even written a song by that title. So what does it mean? Are you familiar with the story of Spartacus? He was a slave in the Roman Republic who led a slave uprising. When he and his band of brothers were finally captured by the Roman army, they asked the men to identify Spartacus in exchange for their lives, and one by one, each man stood up and said, "I am Spartacus!" For this they were all crucified, but the moral of the story is that they loved Spartacus so much, they wanted to sacrifice themselves for him. You can watch the crucial scene here:
And here's how it has meaning to me: when I was in junior high, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She spent a couple years fighting it (and ultimately beat it) and many nights at Cleveland Clinic recovering from surgeries and chemo and other treatments. I remember so distinctly (and I am not one to remember moments in distinct physical detail) being at Cleveland Clinic with my dad and sister visiting my mom when my dad told me, "I would gladly suffer what your mother is going through a thousand times if I could keep her from going through it this once." This, more than any other thing my parents taught me, made me the man I am. It showed me what it meant to be a husband and a father, and it's how I attempt to love my wife and kids every day.
It's all about sacrifice. This is biblical love. Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." The call to husbands is to love sacrificially, to put your wife before yourself. If necessary, to die for her. Because that's the kind of love Christ showed on the cross. I am reminded of the song "So Will I (100 Billion X)." The final chorus (if it can be called that) says, "I can see Your heart eight billion different ways, every precious one a child You died to save." And 8 billion really just covers people alive today. How many countless more were there that have come before and passed on? And Christ died the worst kind of death you could die, and on top of that bore the weight of an infinite numbers of sins and the rejection of the Father, so that we could live. The ultimate sacrifice. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church.