August 13, 2011
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10
On August 16, 1987, a Northwest Airlines flight departed the Detroit airport.
Soon after takeoff the plane crashed onto a highway, causing the deaths of 155 people. When rescuers arrived, among the carnage of cars and the aircraft they found a four-year-old girl. She said her name was Cecelia.
Because of Cecelia's condition it was thought she had been a passenger in a car rather than the plane. A quick check of the flight's roster showed their first assumption had been wrong. Cecelia had been on Flight 225.
Only later, when things had calmed down, did Cecelia explain how she had been spared. She said that her mother, during the plane's last moments, had unbuckled her seat belt, knelt in front of her daughter and held Cecelia as tightly as she could.
The mother had put herself between her daughter and death.
That's the kind of thing a mother would do for a child. It's also the kind of thing the Savior has done for all humanity. Of course, there are differences. A mother would not make such a sacrifice for everybody, but Jesus did. Jesus surrendered Himself for the entire world -- even those who never appreciated Him.
Here's another difference: Cecelia's mother could only save her child for a short time. Death will eventually have Cecelia, as it will everyone. But Jesus' sacrifice has enabled those who believe on Him to be completely forgiven as well as granted eternal life in heaven.
Now I would imagine that Cecelia will always remember the sacrifice her mother made for her. It would be the right thing for a grateful child to do. Just so it is right for us to live our lives in thanksgiving for the Savior who put Himself between us and eternal death.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may my life be filled with gratitude for Your Son, my Savior who lived, suffered, died and rose for me. May all who see me know how wonderful was His gracious sacrifice. This I ask in His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries