See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God's children now .... 1 John 3:1-2a
At the close of a battle in the days of World War I, a young man was found dying on the battlefield.
A fellow soldier stopped to render him some help. In gratitude, the dying infantryman said, "My father is a man of wealth. If I have the strength, I will write him a note, and he will repay you for this kindness."
This was the letter he wrote: "Dear father, the bearer of this letter made my last moments easier and helped me to die. Receive him and help him for your son's sake."
The war ended, and the soldier found it difficult to find employment.
Eventually, in tattered clothes, he showed up at the rich man's home in Detroit. The father, seeing such an unkempt ruffian at his door, refused admission to the ex-soldier. Before the door was shut, the soldier said, "I have a note for you in which, I believe, you will be interested, sir." He handed the dead soldier's father the little, soiled piece of paper.
The father quickly recognized his son's handwriting. His eyes softened as he read his boy's last message.
In a second, the father's attitude changed. He threw his arms around the ex-soldier and held him tightly. He invited the lad into his home as an honored guest. Anything he could do for his son's friend was done.
That, my friends, is a beautiful story.
But it's a poor story compared to what the Heavenly Father has done for us. In the story that man's son died on a battlefield. If the lad had been given his choice, he would have returned home, healthy and whole. But God's Son, our Savior, gave up His life, willingly, completely, totally.
Indeed, Jesus entered this world for the express purpose of living, dying and rising for us.
Now, because of what Jesus has done for us, the Holy Spirit brings us to the Lord. Now, because of what Jesus has done, the Heavenly Father cleans us up by forgiving our sins and then He adopts us as His very own children.
That, my friends, is also a wonderful example, isn't it?
Unfortunately, the comparison I have made here doesn't hold up.
It doesn't hold up because the soldier in the story was the one who initiated the brief, battlefield relationship. In our case, it was the Lord who reached out to those who didn't want Him and felt no need of Him.
The story doesn't hold up because the rich Detroit tycoon invited the ex-soldier into his house because that man had been kind to his dying son. In contrast the Lord invites into His home those who had once been enemies of His Son; He invites into His home those repentant souls whose sins had placed Jesus on the cross.
No earthly father would ever do such a thing, but our Lord is not an earthly father, is He?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, how can I express my appreciation for Your grace which loved me enough to see Your Son die on Calvary's cross? May my heart be filled with gratitude for Jesus who voluntarily did all that was necessary for my entry into heaven. In His Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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