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
At the age of six, Joey Welch can probably understand the concept of good news and bad news.
For Welch, the bad news began when he went out canoeing with his father in south Florida. Before they launched he wandered down to the water's edge. That was when the alligator grabbed his arm. It was also when his screams told his father something had gone very, very wrong.
By the time Welch's father got to the boy, the alligator had already pulled him into water which was waist deep.
That's the bad news.
The good news begins when the father grabbed hold of his son with one hand and began hitting the alligator's head with the other. Dad was assisted in his rescue attempt by the arrival of a stranger, who began kicking the alligator in the stomach. Rather than suffering such embarrassing abuse, the gator decided it was better to let the boy go and beat a dignified retreat.
The good news is that Joey Welch is alive and well, suffering only the most minor of injuries.
In some ways, I think, Welch's story is ours. For example, we, like him, were helpless. Caught in the jaws of sin, the devil and death, we were unable to set ourselves free. Left to our own devices we would have been eternally lost. Seeing our desperate helplessness and motivated by love, the Savior -- like Welch's father -- came to save us.
Yes, there are similarities.
But there are also dissimilarities between Joey Welch's story and ours. First, the Savior had no stranger offering assistance in the winning of our rescue. If we were to be saved, it was going to happen only because of His singular and special sacrifice.
But there's another difference between us and Joey Welch. The news story says he and his father emerged from that water without much damage. That was certainly not true for the Savior. When Jesus came into this world to save us, there was no doubt -- no question -- as to what would happen to Him.
So we might be freed from our enemies Jesus had to be beaten, whipped, spit upon and crucified. It was a price He was willing to pay for our forgiveness and eternity in heaven. As near as I can tell, St. Paul, without ever hearing of Welch and his father, understood all this. That's why he wrote:
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.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I always give glory to the Savior who gave Himself so that we might be rescued from the evils of our age. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries