(Jesus said) "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10
The Volkswagen Jetta is normally a very reliable vehicle.
That being said, even a good car has its limitations. For example, no car will perform well when its driver has been doing some serious drinking, has hit a parked car, a bicycle without a rider, and then finds itself caught on a railroad track, sandwiched between the crossing guards.
I guess things can't get much worse than that.
Wait! That's right! Things can and did get worse. They got worse, they got really worse because the driver of the car was in a liquor-induced fog, and there was a train barreling down the track on a collision course with the Jetta.
Quite frankly, there wasn't much hope for the Jetta or for the Jetta's driver: 20-year-old Nelson Gomez. Indeed, Mr. Gomez would have been scattered across the California countryside if it hadn't been for Lance Whitted, a San Mateo's County Sheriff's deputy. Officer Whitted and his partner had made a routine traffic stop when they noticed the Jetta, the tracks, and the oncoming train.
Officer Whitted jumped into action and, at the risk of losing his life, pulled Gomez out of the Jetta just a few seconds ... and I mean a few seconds, before the train smashed the car. The people who saw the bravery of the officer call him, "a hero." Mr. Gomez ought to call Officer Whitted a "savior."
Of course, there is a big difference between being a savior and being the Savior.
While Officer Whitted had a fair chance of saving Mr. Gomez along with himself, the Lord Jesus had no such guarantee. That's because, when Jesus entered this world, it was for the express purpose of offering His life up as a ransom for ours. For the Savior, saving us meant losing His own life.
But there are other differences between Jesus and Officer Whitted.
* The people who saw Officer Whitted's act have applauded and heaped accolades upon him. In contrast, those who saw Jesus die had treated Him with scorn and contempt.
* While Officer Whitted was willing to risk his life to save one man, Jesus gave His life for all of lost and sinful humanity.
* In spite of Officer Whitted's brave act, Mr. Gomez is someday going to die. Not so for those who have been redeemed and rescued by Jesus. Forgiven souls are confident they will live forever with the Savior.
Now I would not for a minute diminish the split-second act of care shown by this officer. The praise he has received is well-earned, but I will spend my life giving thanks for Jesus' sacrifice, which has pulled me from the jaws of eternal death.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the Savior who has rescued me when I was helpless. May others learn to praise His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries