... We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
The word "decimation" means removal of a tenth.
In the ancient Roman world, when a group of soldiers showed a cowardly or mutinous spirit, they were divided into groups of ten. Lots were thrown, and the one selected was killed by his comrades.
The Romans had no word or punishment for putting to death one in eight.
Still, that is basically what happened when the Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh collapsed. Although no one knows for sure, the best estimates say there may have been 3,000 garment industry workers in that complex. As of this writing, 377 of those workers are dead.
That's a one-in-eight ratio.
Now there are those who might take a look at that comparison and say, "There is a difference between the Roman disciplinarians and the owners of the factory building."
I agree. The Romans practiced decimation to restore order, while the owners of Rana Plaza were motivated by greed.
That's why they built their building without the necessary permits and permissions. That's why, when major cracks were discovered, they assured the companies who employed thousands of workers the facility was safe. That's why 377 people -- mostly young women -- are dead.
In contrast to the Romans and the owners of Rana Plaza, we have the Lord.
Scripture tells us that God would have all men to be saved. So this might happen the Lord sent His only Son into this world to be the Substitute who would suffer and die, so we might be forgiven of our transgressions and restored to a loving relationship with our Maker.
So that billions of once-damned souls might live, the Lord decreed that one should die. Amazingly, that one Person destined to die was His own Son.
Although I am not an expert on Roman history, I do not know of a single instance where a commander sent his son to be slaughtered in the place of mutinous or cowardly troops. And although I don't know all the facts concerning the Rana Plaza building's collapse, I do know the owners of the facility and their families were not in the building that day.
In truth, sending your child to die for someone else doesn't make human sense. Still that is what God, in His grace, has done. And because He has, you and I are forgiven and saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks Your ways and thoughts are not mine. I rejoice that, in the sending of Your Son to be our Savior, You have done the illogical, the unthinkable, the gracious and the glorious. For Jesus' substitution I shall always be in Your debt. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries