(Jesus said) "... the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28b
Michael Patterson is a man who does good deeds.
A month ago Patterson came to the aid of some people who were hurt in an SUV and tractor-trailer accident. Two weeks ago he was at Georgia's Euharlee Creek when he saw a four-year-old child get pulled under. Those who were there say the 43-year-old Patterson immediately dove off the dam to save the child.
The water into which Patterson dove was less than six feet deep. He broke his neck in three places, severed his spine, and was paralyzed. It was a terrible tragedy for a man who had just started a new job as a contractor and doesn't yet have insurance.
But that, my friends, is not the end of the story. There is more.
Somehow, and nobody knows just how, Patterson was able to save the girl. According to reports, the child was at the bottom of the water and somebody pushed her up. At that moment there was only one person in the water: Michael Patterson.
A miracle? Possibly. I don't know. On the other hand, I do know that a man gave himself and his future to save a child.
Patterson's sacrifice makes us mindful of what the Savior has done for all of us. Like that girl, we also had been dragged under. In our case sin had grabbed hold of us and our eternal death was certain. Seeing our helpless condition, Jesus came into this world to bring about our rescue.
His was an action that took Him to the cross, which had Him give Himself and His future to save and offer salvation to all of humanity.
Yes, there are some similarities between the stories, and there are some differences. The biggest of those differences is this if Patterson had known the shallowness of the water into which he was diving, he would have done something different. In order to save the girl and himself, he might have jumped feet first into the water, or he might have gone to a different spot.
In contrast to Mr. Patterson, we have the sacrifice made by our Savior who knew exactly what He was doing. Promises had been given and prophesies had been made about His life. Before Jesus was ever born in Bethlehem He knew His life would end up on the cross. Between His birth, death and resurrection, He was fully aware He would be rejected and unwanted.
Even so, Jesus jumped in to save us. In so doing He has done that which was humanly impossible: He has defeated death, the devil and sin.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we give thanks for men of courage and commitment like Michael Patterson. Bless and be with this man who has made a great sacrifice for someone else. Most of all we rejoice in the Savior whose sacrifice is unique in human history. May we always be grateful for all Jesus has done to rescue us from the forces of evil. In His Name we pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries