Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
This is the time of year when people flock to pools and beaches.
It is also the time when big, muscular lifeguards do their rescues on crowded beaches and pools.
Amazingly, the lifeguard in this story is neither big nor muscular.
The lifeguard in this story is little Marie Paule Thielle of Metz, France. Marie received an impressive Bronze Medal for having performed a lifesaving "act of courage and dangerous sacrifice."
What makes Marie stand out is this: she was only three years old when she saved the life of her unappreciative two-year-old companion, Denis. Now I don't want you to get me wrong, it's not that Denis objects to being alive; he just doesn't like the way he was saved.
When Denis fell into the municipal pool, Marie grabbed him by the hair and held his head out of the water. She held on until her screams for help were answered.
Denis said, "That hurt a lot." I imagine it did.
Of course, in the case of our spiritual rescue, it wasn't us, the ones who were being rescued who were hurt. The Person who was wounded was the Rescuer, our Redeemer, Jesus. Fists, whips, a crown of thorns, heavy nails, and a Roman spear gave Him His wounds.
It was an act of heroism the Rescuer performed to save us. To snatch us from death, the Rescuer had to give up His own life. His was an act of courage, and total sacrifice that has not been repeated before or since.
Of course, no medals were ever given to Jesus. He never asked for them, expected them, nor would He have any use for them.
Instead of medals and governmental honors, He would very much like to receive the thanks which come from the appreciative and grateful hearts of people He has saved. People like you and me.
That's not asking too much for a real Lifesaver, do you think?
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, to save me from death, You gave up Your life. For this, I come to You today with a thankful and humble heart. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries