John 3:17 - For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
Stanislav Petrov died on May 19th of this year. Amazingly, his passing has been ignored by most mainstream news agencies. Only last month did the BBC report about the man who may have saved the world.
Now that's the kind of title that will interest just about any Christian pastor. Absolutely convinced the heading was motivated by journalistic license and a driving desire to sell papers, I began to read the story with a high degree of skepticism.
At the end, I had to apologize to Petrov. He may indeed have been the man who saved the world.
Here's the story: in 1983, Stanislav Petrov was serving in a Russian military installation, which was supposed to provide an early warning if computers detected missiles launching from the U.S. On September 23rd of that year, his computers started shooting paper out and telling him that the U.S. had begun an attack.
Petrov had only one job to do.
He was to look at the information and pass it on to his superiors who would not question him or second guess him. They would just begin the promised retaliation. Petrov knew his duty. He picked up the phone and made a call.
He called the duty officer at army headquarters and reported the computers had had a breakdown.
After he made the call, there was nothing to do but sit and wait. Petrov knew that his wait was going to be a short one. In 25 minutes he would know if America had launched those missiles. He would know because the missiles would detonate, and that would mean his hunch had been wrong and his country, his family, everything he loved was gone.
The clock ticked off the minutes. There were no reports of any detonations. Petrov was able to breathe again. Only later was it found that the satellites had misinterpreted the sun reflecting off some clouds, and Petrov became the man who may have saved the world.
Do you think this would be the appropriate time for me to tell you about the Man who did save the world?
I think it is appropriate that we hear about Jesus, who, following His Father's orders, came to Earth and did everything He was supposed to do. He fulfilled the Law for us; He resisted temptation for us; He carried our sins for us; He died for us, and He rose for us.
If He had, anywhere along the line, failed in His duty the result would have been catastrophic. Not just one or two nations or one or two generations would have paid the price. Jesus' failure would have meant hell for all of us. But Jesus didn't fail. His third-day resurrection from the dead says that His work has been successfully completed, and He is the Man who saved the world.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we give thanks for a Savior who offered Himself for our deliverance. May we always offer our thanks for His sacrifice, which has saved not just the world, but me as well. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one carried by the BBC on September 18, 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: 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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