For Christ also suffered once for sins, the Righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. 1 Peter 3:18
On the 17th of October, the Iraqi government began a campaign to recapture the city of Mosul.
Those government forces met serious resistance from the 5,000 ISIS fighters and, at the same time, the Iraqis have had to face some moral and ethical issues.
Let me explain.
According to what are considered to be "reliable sources," when it became clear as to what was going to happen, the ISIS forces went into the countryside around Mosul and gathered up people. Best guestimates say about 8,000 families, with an average size of six, were rounded up. Those who hesitated or resisted were shot where they stood. The terrified souls who complied were herded into Mosul, where they served as human shields.
In other words, ISIS is saying if you want to destroy these locations, you may be able to do so, but it will be at the cost of the lives of many non-combatant men, women and children.
I cannot imagine how those people must feel. Imagine, the innocent being sacrificed to save the guilty.
I hope so. Consider, we have a Savior who has put Himself between us and our enemies: sin, death and devil. According to the Father's plan, Jesus became a Human-Divine shield for us. His life was sacrificed, so we might be forgiven and have life eternal.
Of course, there are some major differences between the Savior and the human shields of Mosul.
Any of them, given an opportunity, would gladly escape and return home. They feel no love or loyalty to the forces of evil that have put them into this dangerous -- and possibly deadly -- situation. In contrast, our Triune God continued to love His wayward children, even after they disobeyed the one Commandment He had given to them. Rather than destroying humanity instantly and immediately, God promised to send His Son as our Sacrifice and Substitute.
What man or woman being held in Mosul would willingly do that for their captors? It would be unthinkable!
Oh, there is yet another difference between our Savior and the victims of ISIS. That difference is an important one. While there is a possibility that ISIS' captives might survive, Jesus had no such chance. The Baby in Bethlehem's manger was also the Christ who hung on Jerusalem's rough-hewn cross. His life was offered to save ours.
And His great and glorious resurrection from the dead says His work has been completed and all who believe on Him are saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifice which has saved me, I am grateful. May my life be lived reflecting that joy which is mine, and may my words and actions tell the lost world that the forgiven life can be theirs as well. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries