(Jesus said) "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side." Luke 10:30-32
A week or two ago the media carried the story of Roger Andersen and family.
Andersen was driving on a winding Utah canyon, when his car slid into an icy river. His daughter, son and another nine-year-old were trapped. Andersen managed to get to the surface and told some bystanders about the children.
According to Andersen, it took but a second for a number of people to jump into the river. Quickly they pulled the children out, gave them CPR and saved those young lives.
People getting involved ... doing what's right ... taking a stand. That's the spirit that saved Andersen's family; it's what saved a fellow in another Utah crash, one that happened last September. Maybe you remember seeing the video of the motorcyclist who was pinned under a burning car? If so, you also recall how a group of five folks tried to free that cyclist and failed.
But those good Samaritans didn't give up. No, they called for help and soon almost a dozen folks came together and, ignoring the flames, managed to lift the car, so the cyclist could be pulled to safety.
It was a beautiful story except for one bothersome thing: the man in the suit.
If you review the video as I have just done, you will see a man in a suit. During the first attempt he stood to the side and did not participate. During the second attempt nothing changed. He watched and didn't get involved.
Now I know there could be 100 reasons -- some of them very good reasons -- explaining why that man didn't lend a hand. But from what I can see, and I freely and readily admit I could be wrong, it looks like he's very deliberately remaining aloof and detached.
As I watched that scene, I wondered what would I have done if I had been there that day. Would I have been the watching, waiting fellow in the suit, or would I have joined with those who were compassionate and committed? Would those flames have fired me toward greater action or toward cowardice? I pray God would give us all the grace to do what we can.
And even as I contemplated what I would have done, I gave thanks for what Jesus did.
When we were hopelessly trapped by sin, when there was no hope of our escaping a terrible end, Jesus entered this world and did what had to be done. Alone, unaided, unapplauded and unappreciated, He did all that needed to be done to save us.
And, unlike the other rescuers in our stories who calculated they had a good chance of surviving, Jesus knew He had to die so we might live. He took His stand and because He did, we have forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, this day I give thanks for those who do what needs to be done, who take a stand for what is right, even when it costs. Most of all I give thanks for my Savior, who stood fearlessly against sin, death and devil. For His sacrifice, for my forgiveness and salvation, I give thanks. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries