You’ve probably heard about the family that was hiking in Colorado recently when there was a sudden landslide. Huge rocks came tumbling down the side of the hill, killing five or six members of the family.
The only person to survive was a teenage daughter. Based on the girl’s account of what happened, along with what investigators could uncover about the incident, there is one reason and only one reason why she survived this ordeal. It was because her father had tried to protect her as the landslide hit by putting himself between his daughter and the boulders.
He covered her, giving his life in order for her to have a better chance at living.
In the years to come, as this girl looks back and tells others what happened on that fateful day, I doubt if she’ll tell about how lucky she was to have survived the landslide when everyone else was killed. I don’t think she’ll credit her toughness or her own strength for not being crushed by those huge rocks.
I’m fairly certain she won’t attribute her deliverance to some scientific explanation about the trajectory of the rocks in relation to where she was standing on the hiking trail in comparison to where all the other people were standing.
I’m confident that she’ll always tell people, “The only reason I survived is because of my dad and what he did for me at that moment. My deliverance – my living instead of dying – is all about my father. It’s about his sacrificial act of love on my behalf.”
We can testify to the same truth about Jesus. Our being delivered from spiritual and eternal death is due completely to Him and what He did for us. It’s all about Him and His sacrificial act of love on our behalf.
The Bible says God “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
The “in whom” refers to Jesus. He’s the only reason we can have redemption and can experience the forgiveness of our sins. Notice also that it’s “through His blood.”
Jesus didn’t save us simply by means of His inspiring teachings about how to love others and live right. Neither did He redeem us by setting a wonderful example for us to follow.
What saved us was Jesus putting Himself between us and the boulders of sin, death, and hell which were threatening to crush us. He did it by shedding His own blood – by dying on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins.
Sometimes we get to focusing so much on what we need to do to continue to faithfully follow the Lord that we lose sight of what Jesus has done for us. If we’re not careful, we can start associating our salvation more with what we do or don’t do instead of keeping the focus on Jesus, the One whom our salvation is all about.
Or sometimes we so emphasize the teachings and example of Jesus that we neglect what He did for us on the cross.
Let’s never forget that it was through His death that Jesus saved us. Therefore He’s the One who deserves our praise and gratitude. Jesus is our Rescuer to whom we should give our utmost love and loyalty.
Let’s always remember that the only reason we’re not perishing but have eternal life is because of Jesus giving His life out of love for us.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.