If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope. Psalm 130:3-5
Twenty-five innocent Afghani civilians were killed last week in an air strike made by NATO forces. Wishing to take out a suspected group of thirty insurgent fighters, the bomb missed its intended mark and destroyed a building that was occupied by non-combatants.
Among the dead were the mullah of the local mosque, nine women, and three babies.
Reaction to the deaths has been varied. A spokesman for the military said, “We are concerned about reports that some civilians may have lost their lives during this attack.” President Hamid Karzai has called for foreign troops to do more in the prevention of civilian casualties, while a senior official in the Afghan Defense Ministry said that all civilian deaths are a matter of “concern.” I imagine the mourning families and friends of the dead might express their pain in a more personal and passionate way.
Although war has always touched innocent and uninvolved bystanders, any death like those described above is a terrible tragedy.
This is why the death of our Savior is especially tragic. It is tragic because, in the war between good and evil, in the battle for the souls of humankind, Jesus was an innocent, albeit necessary, casualty. Look at His life. The Divine Savior is shown to be innocent because He never steps into any of Satan’s traps. He is innocent because He never sinned, nor was He ever disobedient of His Father’s will and wishes. That Jesus was innocent can hardly be argued. Even those who were partly responsible for His death have announced He was free of any wrongdoing. Judas, the man who sold his Lord for thirty pieces of silver, ended up confessing “he had betrayed innocent blood.” Pontius Pilate, the official who eventually ended up allowing the Christ to be crucified, repeatedly went on record saying that Jesus had done nothing to merit His execution. The unnamed thief who died on a cross next to Jesus confessed the Savior was free of any and all wrongdoing.
Innocent, Jesus died for us who were guilty. Innocent, Jesus gave His earthly life so all who believe on Him might be given eternal life. Jesus’ death is the great, essential tragedy of history that gives us salvation. His sacrifice is what enables forgiven sinners to come to the Father in prayer….
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we give thanks that although You were innocent, You allowed Yourself to shoulder our sin and be sacrificed so we might be saved. Now I ask that You will send Your Holy Spirit upon this troubled world so all sinners might know Your great sacrifice. In Your name, Amen.