The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Mark 10: 45b
Not one in a hundred of the Daily Devotion readers or listeners will know the name Arland Williams, Jr. Arland Williams, Jr. was a bank examiner who died on January 13, 1982.
If you’ve forgotten him, or never knew him, let me tell you a little bit about Arland. He was one of the passengers on Air Florida Flight 90 when it crashed into the frozen Potomac River. He, along with five others, managed to survive. Still, because a storm hampered rescue efforts, it looked as if the survivors might not survive.
Only after hours of waiting did a helicopter make it to the desperate souls. The chopper airlifted one person to safety and came back. The life ring was grabbed by Arland, who gave it to someone else. The chopper came back a second time, and a third time, as well as a fourth. Each time Arland gave it to someone else. Eventually Arland was alone, but when the helicopter came back for him, he was gone.
I bring up the story of Arland Williams Jr., because last week, in an MSNBC story about heroes, Doctor Earl Babbie, professor emeritus of behavioral sciences at Chapman University said, "I wish it were possible to interview heroes the day before they risk their lives for someone else; I bet you won't find anyone who can tell you with assurance what he or she would do in a life-threatening situation."
I’d be willing to take the Professor’s bet. I’d take the bet because there would be no gambling involved. You see, I know one Hero who knew exactly what He would do in a life-threatening situation.
I know Jesus.
Jesus was fully aware of why He had been born into this world. He was acquainted with the prophecies of Isaiah, which said the Messiah would be beaten, stricken, and wounded, so humanity would be saved. Because He knew, Jesus was able to tell His disciples that He had come to give His life as a ransom for many. Jesus knew that if you and I were to be rescued from death, He would have to sacrifice Himself. And so He did. Willingly Jesus gave His life so we might be given a new lease, a permanent lease, on eternal life.
This is why Jesus is the greatest Hero this world has ever seen. More than that, He is the only Savior this world will ever know. With thankful hearts we remember His birth; but with repentant hearts we recall why He came: He came as a Hero to give His life as a ransom for many.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice that saves a sinner like me. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries