The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Mark 1:22
A good many years ago during a Massachusetts winter, a brother and sister were walking on the ice. He was nine and she was eleven. They hit a thin patch and fell through. Kicking to the surface, they yelled for help. Summoned by their screams, a man came running, dove into the icy water, and tried to help them both. Seeing his difficulty, the nine-year-old boy shouted, “Never mind me, save Annette.” That’s what happened. The man saved Annette. The boy died.
I’ve often wondered why the boy called, “Never mind me, save Annette.” Was it a rational decision? Did he debate the matter? After weighing the pros and cons, did he conclude he would rather see his sister saved than himself? There was no time. No, that boy — a Christian boy — instantly said what he did because it was part of him. From home, from church, from parents, or a teacher, he had learned to have Jesus as his authority. It’s not normal to say, “Never mind me, save Annette.” But it is possible when Jesus is the authority in your life.
In a similar situation, what would you do? I know most parents would sacrifice themselves for their children. There are some of you who would be willing to die for a good friend. But, sad to say, most of us, given a choice between saving ourselves and rescuing someone else, are really not that generous.
Knowing that the instinct for self-preservation is pretty powerful within us, we stand in awe of the great love Jesus has shown for us. Saint Paul, speaking for all who have seen the Savior, wrote in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus was born into this world not to save people who walked around with halos around their heads. He did not come to be the Divine Physician of those who were sound in both soul and body. He did not live His entire life, and die His undeserved death, to rescue those who had no need of His sacrifice.
Jesus did all that He did, so that sad, sorry sinners might have salvation. Even as He hung on the cross, He prayed to His Father, “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” We didn’t. I’m glad He did.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on February 2, 2003
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