God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law. Galatians 4:4-5
Angus McGillivray, a strong, strapping Scotsman, was a survivor. Surviving was important in the Japanese prisoner of war camp where Angus was being held. "Survival of the fittest" was the rule of the day. Everyone lived that way until word spread that Angus was dead. Eventually, those around Angus managed to figure things out. Scottish soldiers, who often came from the same community, were instilled with the idea that each was responsible for his pal. That was what Angus had thought when he looked at his buddy. True, the doctors had said there was no hope for the man. And everyone acted as such, except for Angus. Angus felt obligated to make sure his buddy would survive.
When his friend’s blanket was stolen, Angus, saying he had "found an extra one," passed his on to the friend. As he gave his rations to his friend, Angus explained, “I can get more food anytime I want." Angus’ sacrifice paid off. His friend began to mend; his body started to heal. Then Angus died. "Exhaustion and starvation" was the doctor’s verdict. The rank and file prisoners knew the truth: Angus had died because his friend’s life was all-important. When word of Angus’ sacrifice spread among the surviving prisoners, the men were changed. We are not surprised. Indeed, we would be amazed if changes had not come about.
When I first heard that story, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had a friend like Angus?” Then I realized, as everyone should, that we do have such a friend in the person of the Christ. Indeed, Jesus is a better friend than Angus. When Angus made his sacrifice, he had no idea he would die. In contrast, when Jesus was born into this world, He knew that, one day, iron nails would be driven into His hands and feet. He knew that He would be crucified to win our salvation. This our friend did for us so that we might be saved, so that we might live. Now, the only question needing to be answered is, “What will be our response to Christ’s great sacrifice?” There should be one, you know. How could we not respond and be changed by such a dear, loving friend?
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on August 15, 2004
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I rejoice that I have a friend in You. You sacrificed Your life to win my salvation, and I am grateful. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You. In Your Name, Amen.