Today marks 105 years since the sinking of the Titanic. On April 14th, 1912, this "unsinkable" ship met its fate in the Atlantic Ocean. Then 100 years later, on January 13, 2012, the cruise ship, Costa Concordia, met its fate in the Mediterranean Sea. Lives were lost in both cases. What caused those disasters? I believe that it was a collision between natural elements and human nature — specifically, pride.
Pride will sink our mighty "ships" of human ambition. The two ship disasters are historical markers worth remembering, because they can keep us attuned to the reality of sin and the need for the cross.
Compare those disasters with the shipwreck recorded in Acts 27. Here we see how Christ's salvation working in one of the passengers helped to spare the lives of everyone on that ship. Initially, the captain had no use for advice from this passenger, who was merely a pitiful, chained prisoner named Paul. Paul had warned him of impending disaster if they set sail, but the captain ignored the advice — a typical symptom of pride. Later, he realized that Paul was right after all. By then, it was too late for the ship, but not for the people.
Really, it was Paul's humility that made the difference. Paul might have been in chains, but he was not chained to the power of sin and pride. Paul was free to be exactly who he was called to be, even in that crisis. Paul had put his trust in God's salvation and listened to God's Spirit. Through courageous love, Paul led the passengers and sailors from impending death to safe shores. In contrast, the captain of the Costa Concordia was chained to his pride. He denied the impending doom and offered false assurance to the passengers. He later fled from the sinking ship without rescuing passengers. What a tragedy!
Whether we realize it or not, we're all aboard some form of Titanic, that is, a sinking "ship". This may be an organization, a nation, or our own self-constructed "dream ships". Broadly speaking, we are all aboard a ship that is sinking: The entire human race is doomed through its bondage to sin and the destructiveness of pride.
God sent His Son to die on the cross and destroy sin's deadly power. That's what makes Good Friday so good! "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23 NIV) Through our identity with Christ in His death, sin's grip on us is crucified, freeing us to share the life-giving blessings of salvation — wherever we find ourselves.
Let's consider what Paul said of himself:
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (NIV)
Is this true for you and me?
Prayer: Dear Lord, today we remember that, through Your suffering and death, You endured the full brunt of human sin. Thank You! Now, help us to see our own need to identify with You in Your death, so that our sinful pride may be crucified. Help us, like You, to endure in humility and merciful love. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "O Come And Mourn With Me Awhile" (Lyrics)