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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Like Jesus"

April 24, 2007

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For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all. 1 Timothy 2:5-6a

"Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people." -- Sueng-Hui Cho, in a video sent to NBC news

By now, you may be tired of hearing about Sueng-Hui Cho, the 23-year-old gunman who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech. You may have been disturbed by the images that have been broadcast or upset by the endless discussion and analysis of why he did what he did. If so, please forgive me for the topic of this devotion, but I simply had to visit with you about one of the things Cho said in the video he included in a packet of information which he sent to NBC News.

Did you catch it when Cho said that he "died like Jesus Christ to inspire generations of defenseless people"?

Now, I will assume that almost all of you recognize that Cho didn’t die like Jesus Christ. You probably already know that Jesus died to give life, not to take life. The Savior gave Himself so that those who believe on Him might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). You are grateful that Jesus lived, died, and rose, not so that we might be inspired, but so that we could be saved. There is no question that Cho was terribly, tragically wrong in what he thought, in what he did, and in the way he thought of the Savior.

This is why I would encourage you today to spend some time considering the great grace that we have received through our Savior. He is the only mediator between a holy God and sinful humankind. Today there are many erroneous beliefs about Jesus. Some say that He was a tremendous teacher. Others would confine Him to the role of being a fine philosopher, healer, helper, or an incredibly wise individual.

Anyone who wishes to confine Jesus to those roles misses the point of why Jesus lived. The Spirit inspired Paul to tell young Timothy that ‘Jesus came to give Himself as a ransom for the sinful souls of this world.’ Scripture is clear. Without the hope conveyed by the prophecies made about the Savior, or the fulfillment made by Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, we would be forever in sin and damned in our transgressions.

But this day and every day, we are able to give thanks to God for the victory that comes to us through Jesus Christ. The Savior’s ransom is complete, and his nail-pierced hands have built a new bridge between heaven and hell.

In a world of suicide bombings, mass shootings, and relentless, endless troubles, we can give thanks because Jesus is our Savior, our Sacrifice, and our Substitute.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, send your Holy Spirit so that those who are disturbed, disillusioned, despondent, and depressed may see that through You, there is hope. May they see that You have died and risen not to inspire us, but to redeem us. May we all, with sins forgiven, rejoice that Your ransom has brought our redemption. In Your Name. Amen.

Have questions about why tragedies like the one at Virginia Tech occur?

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Today's Bible Readings: 1 Samuel 4-6    Luke 18:1-23

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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