For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8
Melissa Villneff is a practical woman.
She tried to make friends with the young men in her neighborhood by inviting them into her house and feeding them. But Melissa also kept a shotgun around to protect her home. Practical.
Well, those young men paid far more attention to the shotgun than they did Melissa's kindness.
A few weeks ago four of the men broke into her home and beat Melissa's son. They broke his jaw and cut his head. Put him in the hospital. Even so, Terrance Villneff didn't give his mother's shotgun to the intruders. While her brother was being beaten, his sister, having recognized the intruders, began to take pictures.
Outraged at her audacity the criminals turned their AK-47 on the girl. They were going to murder her; they would have murdered her if it had not been for her grandfather, 62-year-old decorated Vietnam Veteran John Villneff. He stepped between his granddaughter and the rifle.
John knew what he was doing; he knew what would happen.
John Villneff died giving his life for a person he felt was righteous: his granddaughter. It was a noble act.
Still, there is a difference between what John Villneff did and what Jesus has done. John Villneff died to save his beloved granddaughter. I think many of us would have done the same. At least I'd like to think we would.
But Jesus is different. Jesus died to save John Villneff, and John's grandson, Terrance, and John's daughter, Melissa, and John's granddaughter, too. But there's more…
Jesus also died to save those four murderers.
Yes, it's true. Jesus died to save every sinner in this world.. He died to bring forgiveness to the worst of us and the best of us. He died so all men might be saved and be brought into the light and life given by the Redeemer's blood.
And for that we, along with the other chiefs of sinners, must give thanks.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, comfort the Villneff family and be with them as they mourn John's passing. Be with all the heroes and the victims. Let them know You care. But I pray Your Holy Spirit may rest upon those who need to be brought to a knowledge of their error. May they see the Savior and the wonderful things He can and has done for them. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries