Luke 4:17-21 - And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
If you're not from Texas, odds are you have never heard of James Butler Bonham.
Please, let me tell you his story.
In 1836, for the first two weeks in February, James Bonham worked with the other men of the Alamo in building up the fortifications of the mission. His job description changed when word came that Santa Anna, the Mexican general, was approaching the mission with a great army.
Realizing the hopelessness of their present situation, one of the commanders of the Alamo sent Bonham out to find assistance. Bonham, under orders, left before the siege began. He looked for help; he looked far and wide, but he found no one to relieve the surrounded garrison.
There is no written record of what went through Bonham's mind when he realized the helplessness of his companions' situation.
Who could blame him if he decided not to go back? His presence at the mission was not going to change the outcome of the battle. All it would do is raise the total death count by one.
We have no written record of what James Bonham thought. We do know that James Butler Bonham got back on his horse and returned to the Alamo to inform his friends and fellow defenders that they were, to the best of his knowledge, on their own.
Bonham made a choice and refused to desert or betray his comrades.
He died with his friends fighting the enemy. His death was a noble thing, but it pales in comparison to that of the Christ. Unlike Bonham who carried bad news, lonely news, Jesus came to earth to give us the good news that we were not alone or on our own.
Unlike Bonham who died killing his enemies, Jesus died trying to save those who hated Him. And while history tells us that the body of James Butler Bonham was found in the chapel of the Alamo, alongside a cannon, it also tells us that Jesus' body has never been found.
Why? Because Christ is not a dead hero.
Jesus is a living Lord, a risen Lord, our Redeemer. As Luke recorded, Jesus has come to proclaim good news to the poor and liberty to those who are enslaved. The living Lord Jesus has come to offer sight to the blind and give freedom to the oppressed.
In short, Jesus was born, lived, and died as one of us so that we might be rescued from the forces of sin, Satan, and death. And, unlike James Bonham, the Savior's death has made all the difference.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, accept my gratitude and praise for becoming my earthly Brother, and dedicating Your life to saving this lost world. May I proclaim to all whom I meet, the transformation that was won through Your work among us. In Your Name I ask it. 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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