Isaiah 53:5 - But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.
It was only a few days ago that I first heard the name of a company GlaxoSmithKline.
GlaxoSmithKline is a pharmaceutical company that has spent millions of dollars, and many years, developing a vaccine -- a special and unique vaccine -- a vaccine against malaria.
Now malaria might not be a big deal where you are living right now. Annually, the U.S. works with less than 2,000 malaria cases, and most of those are travelers who contracted the disease while they were overseas.
In Africa things are different. Each year malaria infects more than 200 million individuals.
And the mortality rate? Every year 500,000 people die from the dreaded disease. Maybe I should say 500,000 children succumb to the sickness; children are malaria's easiest victims.
But now there is hope. GlaxoSmithKline is testing its vaccine in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. Children, aged five to 17 months will be given the four necessary doses of the vaccine. Africa's Director of the World Health Organization has said that if the vaccine works in the real world "tens of thousands of lives will be saved each year."
The important words in that last sentence are if the vaccine works.
When I read that article about the malaria vaccine, I said a prayer that it be effective. I also said a prayer offering up thanks that the Savior's blood is the Lord's vaccine that saves us from the certain death, which comes because we have been infected by sin.
When Jesus rose from the dead on Resurrection Sunday, it was a sign to the world that the souls of humanity no longer had to die because they had been infected by sin. Death and grave had been conquered by God's gracious act of sending His Son as our Substitute.
Because of Jesus there was now a medicine that could reduce sin's 100-percent death rate to zero.
Of course, before that zero percent figure could be reached, certain things had to happen. First, those who understood what God had done for them had to share the saving message with those who did not know. The story of salvation had to go into the world and be told. That was hard, but not impossible.
The second thing which had to happen was harder -- much harder.
The Holy Spirit had to open unbelieving hearts and get them to believe Jesus, the Savior, could wash away their sins and restore their spiritual health. It is for the success of both those steps we pray.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I pray that lives may be saved by this new anti-malaria vaccine. Even more I pray Christians may be bold in sharing Jesus' story of salvation with a lost world. Then, wherever the Gospel is shared, may hearts be opened and believe they are healed through Your Son's sacrifice and Your great grace. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written for Newser and Wire editors for Newser on April 24, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written. Please click here
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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