September 8, 2012
He (the jailer at Philippi) brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. Acts 16:30-32
A number of years ago, Chicago had a very nasty winter.
The weight of snow on the roofs of many homes, apartments and offices exceeded structural recommendations. Bob McGrath had one such building: his garage. McGrath wasn't too concerned about things until his wife went into the garage to get some boxes and, shortly afterwards, he heard a great crash.
A glance out the window revealed the garage roof had buckled and caved in. McGrath didn't stop for hat or coat. He ran from the house, grabbed a snow shovel and called out for the neighbors to help. The sweat on his face froze, as he dug at the snow and pulled the debris from the wreckage. Eventually, thankfully, he heard his wife's voice and saw her hand.
In moments the crying couple was reunited. Those who were there say it was a touching moment. In answer to her husband's repeated question, Mrs. McGrath assured him she was all right, and she was. In fact Mrs. McGrath had always been all right. That's because she wasn't in the garage when it collapsed. She had entered the garage through the side door but had come out through the back. She was in the house and quite comfortable, when the garage roof went down.
But rather than throwing cold water on her husband's noble efforts to save her, Mrs. McGrath snuck back into the garage and waited patiently to be rescued.
The story of the McGraths is a beautiful story of love. Unfortunately, it is not very similar to the story of our rescue from this world's forces of darkness. Indeed, there are a number of differences.
The first difference is that we, unlike Mrs. McGrath, have never been safe and secure. On the contrary, the sins of our hearts and minds, and the disobedience of our actions had condemned all of us to temporal and eternal death.
The second difference is that we, unlike Mrs. McGrath, had no desire to be saved. Many of us much preferred to ignore the Lord and try and do those good works that would eventually balance out the scales of good and evil. In a futile and false endeavor, we decided to try and save ourselves.
About the only similarity I can see between the McGraths and condemned humanity is this: we both had a dedicated rescuer. Mrs. McGrath had her husband, and we have Jesus Christ. So that we might be rescued from the death and destruction caused by our disobedience the Lord sent His Son into this world to take our place.
So that we might be rescued, Jesus lived a perfect life for us. So that we might be saved, Jesus resisted every temptation for us. So that we might know death had been transformed from our enemy into a gateway to eternal life, Jesus rose from the dead.
With single-minded purpose, without a flaw or a failing in His entire life, Jesus did for us all that we could not do. His success assures that we have been rescued. This is the assurance Paul held out to the jailer at Philippi. It is also the same for us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for having rescued us through Your life and death we must be eternally grateful. May our lives reflect our appreciation. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries