Proverbs 24:11 – Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. (NKJV)
Rarely is there a newscast that doesn't carry a story of people being saved from burning homes, terrific car crashes, acts of violence, or other incidents which would have resulted in a different outcome had it not been for the valiant efforts of either first responders or ordinary citizens.
Police, fire, ambulance, and search and rescue personnel are trained to face whatever threats to the public's safety that they may encounter. They expect to put their lives on the line in any emergency. Fire personnel are expected to enter burning buildings if there's the slightest possibility that someone could be in there. Search and rescue personnel know how to and will enter into some of the most dangerous situations to rescue a life or retrieve a body.
They all do this knowing that they might lose their lives, and some do, rarely. Because these situations are spontaneous, and although they know the risks, if those whose lives were lost had known a week beforehand what would happen to them, one wonders whether they would still have gone out on those calls.
As we of the Christian faith enter the Holy Week leading up to Easter, we praise and worship the One who was sent from heaven to earth to put His life on the line for us, fully knowing what lay ahead for Him.
On Palm Sunday, knowing that in five days He would be crucified, Jesus rode into Jerusalem like royalty, to the praise and singing of His followers and the laying of palm branches on the road before Him. By Thursday, four days later, He was kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." (Luke 22:42 NKJV)
He still had time to make a run for it and seek refuge somewhere, but He didn't.
The following day, Friday, having struggled in the heat and humiliation with the weight of the cross that He was forced to carry, He was crucified in agony on that cross between two thieves. Grief-stricken, His disciples took Him down from the cross and placed Him in a tomb.
But the following Sunday, He arose from the dead, fulfilling the prophecy that He had given to His disciples, that in His doing so, He would give the gift of eternal life to those who give themselves to Him.
In these days, when public sentiment runs against Christians, and when in some countries, Christians face persecution for their faith, it makes us wonder whether we are willing to put our reputation or even our life on the line because of what Christ has done for us. Jesus promised, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you." (John 15:18 NKJV) If we were to know a week in advance that we might suffer for our faith, would you — would I — still go through our week as we normally would have, had we not known?
Prayer: We give our thanks to You, Lord Jesus, for those who willingly risk their lives that others might not perish. We thank You for carrying through with the task given to You, that through Your death and resurrection, whosoever believes in You will not perish, but have everlasting life. May we, likewise, be willing to put our lives on the line for the salvation of others. In Your name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Ride On Ride On In Majesty" (Lyrics)