April 22, 2015
(Jesus said) "Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
Thirty-four-year-old Garvin Brown and his fiancée were on vacation in New York State's Finger Lakes region. It should have been a grand time. It should have been, but it wasn't.
One night, around one in the morning, Brown took his dog for a walk. There still was ice on some of the ponds in the city of Naples where Brown was staying. His dog ran out on one of those ponds and broke through the thin ice. The dog struggled, and Brown's heart was moved.
Brown was moved enough for him to brave the ice in an attempt to rescue his dog.
It was a brave gesture. It was also a fatal act. Brown broke through that ice and gave up his life to save the life of his pal. Sheriff's deputies, who investigated the scene of the accident, say that even though Brown died, his dog managed to survive.
Reading that story I thought how sad that a man gave up his life for a dog.
It just didn't seem right. Only then did I realize that dying had never been part of Brown's plans. In his mind he thought he could go out on that ice and successfully manage to retrieve his dog. There is little doubt that if Brown had known what was going to happen -- that his life would end -- he might have come up with a different, hopefully, a better plan.
And that, my friends, is the difference between Brown and Jesus.
When Jesus entered this world to save humanity from their sins, from Satan, from damnation, and death, He knew exactly how His life would end. There was nothing in the Father's plan that implied Jesus would be able to rescue us and then live happily ever after.
No, Jesus came into this world to die so you and I might be saved.
It doesn't seem right, does it? As God's Son, Jesus' life was of far greater value and worth than ours. Even more, Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing while we stood convicted of a myriad of transgressions committed in our minds, our hearts, and our lives.
Even so, Jesus came and became our substitute, our sacrifice, our Savior. Jesus came and without complaint, was railroaded to Calvary's cross and willingly laid down His life so we might live forever in paradise.
And now, we who have been given both knowledge of what Jesus has done and faith that we are saved by His life, death and resurrection, we are given the opportunity to thank Him and live our lives in appreciation for His great and deliberate sacrifice.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, may I give thanks You have given Yourself to save me. Standing in awe of Your great love, may I reflect that love to others, with whom I come into contact. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries