"To Destroy Or Not To Destroy"
May 26, 2011
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:21
In 1978 a university photographer was minding his own business as he worked in his studio.
The day in question, the photographer did only one thing wrong: he was breathing. Normally, breathing is a good thing; that day breathing gave the photographer smallpox.
The photographer -- like one-third of all people who contract smallpox -- ended up dying. He died because somehow a little bit of that deadly virus had escaped from the high-containment lab located on the floor below him. The photographer died because somehow that virus escaped, made it into the building's ductwork and into the photographer's lungs.
That photographer was the last person known to have died of smallpox. Since that was more than 30 years ago, most countries in the world -- along with the World Health Organization -- believe he should be the last. They want the remaining samples of the virus to be destroyed.
Russia and the United States -- the only countries that officially have strains of the disease are -- for various reasons, reluctant to do so. The debate is getting hot and heavy, and I don't know who is going to win.
That story, about a deadly bodily disease, reminded me of another disease: a spiritual disease -- the disease of sin. Unlike smallpox, which kills many and scars the rest, the disease of sin is always fatal.
So that our fatal future might be wiped out, Jesus Christ, God's Son, came into this world. With single-minded purpose, His entire life was dedicated to containing sin, to ending sin, to making sure that nobody need ever die of that illness.
It was a struggle that cost Him His life. On a skull-shaped hill located outside Jerusalem's city walls God's Son died so the rest of the world might be saved.
Thankfully, Jesus was successful in His work. His resurrection from the dead shows He has not only defeated sin, He has also conquered the devil and death. Now, because He was successful, we have been given the only medicine that frees humankind from sin's terrible, terminal stranglehold.
Jesus is the cure for sin. That's what the beloved disciple John wrote to Christians in every age. In 1 John 1:7b he said this: "... The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." The blood of Jesus is the medicine that always cures, always, 100 percent of the time.
Because that is so, we can give thanks to God. We can give thanks that because of Jesus never again need anyone die because of sin.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, once there was a time when sin was fatal. Once there was a time when everyone was destined to die because of that spiritual illness. Today I give thanks that Jesus has, through His life, death and resurrection given us the cure. Now may I, one of the many who have been cured through Jesus' blood, do my best to make sure the cure is offered to all. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries