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But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 NIV

We live in a world that idolizes heroes and rightfully so. A Good Samaritan stops to pull an injured person from a burning car and then, the mayhem that follows, disappears when emergency crews arrive.

A fireman or by-stander races into a burning home to rescue a person inside, only to die in the attempt.

A mother dies saving the lives of her children as a tornado pours debris down on her. The children survive because of the body shield she made.

A child calls 9-1-1 and as a result a loved one is taken to the hospital just in time, a life is saved.

We love hearing these stories. Stories of people in the right place at the right time, performing a feat of bravery and ignoring the risk to their own lives. They make us smile. They give us hope. They become a bright light in the darkness.

But what would we think if every time someone tried to save another person that person climbed right back into the danger? The wounded person drags himself across the pavement to climb back into the burning fire; the rescued person dashes back into the burning house; the injured loved one refuses treatment once the ambulance arrives and dies on the floor.

Preposterous you may say and you’d be right. But such is the story of Jesus Christ. He went to the cross knowing that the very people he died for would continue to sin. He went to the cross realizing that for many, his death would be in vain, not because their sin was too great, but because of their refusal to seek his forgiveness.

Jesus is the ultimate hero. The heroes we read about in the newspapers save people from physical harm and death, Jesus saves us from the hidden wounds of the heart and gives us eternal life. The wounds on our bodies can heal with time, but only Jesus can heal the eternal wounds of the heart. He is our ultimate hero and he did it knowing we’d rush right back in and need to be rescued again.

As one writer said, “It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus to the cross. It was your sin.”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus I thank you for rescuing me. There is no reason I deserve your kindness. There is no reason you should have endured the pain of the cross on my behalf. But I thank you for your mercy, grace and forgiveness. Amen.

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March 2012
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