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 5:21
"No good deed goes unpunished." That's what someone said to me recently.
That seemed pretty pessimistic, and I said so. The incident was forgotten until my friend sent me the story of 50-year-old Robert Gursky of Glastonbury, Connecticut. Gursky, it seems, is a nice guy who tried to do the right thing and ended up being punished.
Gursky's story goes this way: he was doing some business at TD Bank in Glastonbury. While in the bank he noticed a fellow who was carrying a gun. Gursky decided the best way to handle things was not to run away yelling, "Flee for your life, everybody! There's a crazed gunman in the bank!"
No, Gursky simply wrote a note which explained the nature of his concern. He slid the note across the counter to one of the tellers. Then he whispered a warning about the armed man. Having done his good deed he left the bank.
Now this is what happened: the teller saw, but didn't read, the note. He heard just one word of what Gursky said, and that word was "gun." The next thing he realized the man had turned, left the bank, and driven away. Well, this teller wasn't born yesterday. He knew his duty and he did it. The police arrived on the scene in record time. They heard the story and went looking for Gursky. They went looking, found him, and arrested him for breach of peace. (A charge which since has been dropped.)
So that's the story which my friend says is proof that no good deed goes unpunished.
I still disagree. On the other hand, I can think of a time when a good deed was punished. Actually, it was a perfect Man who was leading a perfect life who was punished. Of course, I'm speaking of our Savior, Jesus.
Looking at the Christ hanging on the cross I encourage you to think of the things which He had done. He had healed the sick; He had cast out demons, and raised the dead to life. He had spoken a call to repentance and followed it up with words of grace from His Heavenly Father. He had befriended those who were alone and offered peace to those who were troubled.
Yes, He had criticized corruption and pointed out hypocrisy. But nobody should ever think those were bad things, especially since He did it so those who were corrupt and hypocritical might be called to the forgiveness, hope and peace He alone could give.
For all His good works Jesus was hated, hounded and lied about. He was unjustly accused, beaten, whipped, crowned with thorns, and crucified. Every one of His good deeds was unjustly punished.
For which we ought to give thanks.
We should give thanks because humanity's unfairness is the means and method the Lord has used to save us. Now, because the Innocent was punished, all who believe on Him are forgiven and given life eternal.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that my innocent Savior was punished -- so I might be forgiven. May my thanks translate into a life which shows my appreciation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries