And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
According to the story which has come to me, a story I cannot verify as being authentic ...
the sea captain spent an evening regaling his passengers with stories. At the end of the evening he told one, final story. Unlike the other tales he had told, this one was shared respectfully, almost reverently.
He spoke about another Atlantic crossing he had made. On that trip, his ship had sunk in the middle of the night. Only by acting quickly had the crew managed to escape into the lifeboat.
It seemed their victory would be short-lived, as the sea's roughness made it unlikely their small, open boat could stay afloat for any length of time. As that dark reality was sinking in, one of the crew saw another vessel on the horizon: a steamer.
Quickly they searched the chest which contained emergency supplies. Yes, there was a candle and there was a lantern, but there was no match.
Each man quickly rummaged through his pockets. Once again, no match. In desperation they checked a second time and, at last, one match was found. The man, who discovered it, handed it cautiously to the mate, who with the same respect gave it to an officer. Finally, the officer handed the single match to the captain.
The captain, retelling his story, told how the sailors clustered around, holding up their jackets to keep out the wind; he commented that while he had often been entrusted with precious cargo -- no box, package or commodity had ever been worth more than that one match.
He knew that match had great value because it was their only hope.
It occurs to me that there are two ways of looking at Jesus.
The first way considers Him to be almost worthless. When Jesus was doing His earthly ministry, these folks called Him a liar, a sinner, a devil, a Samaritan. Today, those who wish to minimize His work and purpose call Him a storyteller, a crutch, a figment of our imagination.
The second way to look at Jesus rightly sees Him as being our only hope. In every generation the Holy Spirit works faith in the hearts of those who were once condemned. Leading them to repentance and the Redeemer's cross and empty tomb, believers rejoice that they have been given salvation by the Son of God.
They give thanks because they have come to value Jesus as being the only Light who can conquer the darkness.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I know You would have all men to be saved from the storms of sin, which sink souls. For that purpose You sent Your Son into this world to be the Light and our only Hope. May those who deny and disregard the Savior be brought to faith. Further, may we who have faith give thanks for Your great grace. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries