February 17, 2013
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:3-5
The vet from Lexington, Kentucky, stood before the black, mirror-like granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
There were tears in his eyes.
He had made a special trip to pay his respects. A finger rested on the name of a fallen comrade. The vet said this about his friend: "We were pinned down, and I was hit in the leg. This dude laid over me, and they just shot him full of holes. He kept me alive at the cost of his own life. I guess he knew they was fixin' to kill me. He was the proverbial boy next door, who everybody wanted his daughter to go out with."
A similar but vastly greater act of giving took place some 2,000 years ago.
Jesus, the Son of God, knew that Satan was "fixin' to kill" us. Sin had wounded us, and eternal death was our certain ending. In such straits we were helpless to save ourselves, which is why Jesus took our place.
He knew if we were to live, it would be necessary for Him to take the bullets the enemy aimed to finish us off. It was the most selfless act this world has ever seen.
And what is the world's reaction to Jesus' sacrifice? Do these people whose eternity can be changed because of the death of their divine Brother visit Him to give thanks? Are their hearts filled with gratitude and joy? Do they give to others as Jesus gave to them?
You know the answer to these questions.
On the night Jesus was betrayed, His original 11 disciples went absent without leave. The twelfth fellow turned traitor.
Since then, many other individuals have run away. They have tried to write off Jesus' sacrifice as an event that took place long ago and is of no concern to them.
How sad. It belittles Jesus' life, death and resurrection, and it shuts the door to heaven, which the Christ has opened. It is for them -- the lost -- that we pray. We ask them to give thanks and acknowledge Jesus, who has won eternal life at the price of His own death.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, it is easy for people to desert You. All around us we see sinners who close their eyes and see the rejection You suffered, who forgot about the cross and the crown of thorns. Far too often people turn a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit's invitation to repent, believe and be saved. Send Your Spirit upon these souls, so they may know You died to keep them alive. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries