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During the Vietnam conflict, a young man was instructed to lead a group of soldiers in an attack on the forces of the Communist Vietcong. One night he and his men were surprised by a battalion of the Vietcong. He was able to get all but one of his men to safety. The one soldier who had been left behind had been severely wounded, and from their trenches the young lieutenant and his men could hear their wounded comrade moaning and crying for help. They all knew that trying to save him would almost certainly mean death. The groaning of the wounded soldier continued throughout the night. Eventually the young lieutenant crawled out of his place of safety towards the spot from where the cries of the dying man came. He reached him safely and was able to drag him back. But just as he finally got the wounded man to safety, he himself was struck in the back by a bullet which killed him instantly.

            Several months later, the rescued man returned to the United States, and when the parents of the dead hero heard that he was in their vicinity, they invited him for dinner. They wanted to know this young man whose life was saved at such a great cost to them. On the night of the dinner party, their guest arrived drunk. He was loud and told crude jokes. He showed no concern for the suffering parents of the dead hero. They did their best to make it a worthwhile evening, but their efforts were in vain. Eventually the offensive guest left after his unpleasant visit. As her husband closed the door, the mother burst into tears and cried: “To think that our precious son had to die for somebody like that.”

Something similar, but much worse, happened about 2000 years ago. God, our Father, sent his Son Jesus to this world to save us. But Jesus experienced what had already been prophesised 700 years before his birth: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering … But he was pierced for our transgressions … the punishment that brought us peace was upon him (Is. 53:3 – 5).

Jesus died on the cross to save us, but as with the saved soldier, we sometimes live as if it has no meaning. We must never react indifferently to Jesus’ suffering. We should say: “I am the reason for your suffering and death on the cross. You hung there for me. Those injuries and the crown of thorns were for me. There You bore the punishment for my sins so that I may be forgiven and be with You forever.”

It was God’s own plan for our salvation. But He could also have said: “To think that my precious Son had to die for people like them.” But by God’s loving grace He forgives those who accept Jesus as their personal Saviour and adopts them as his children. They become part of God’s family and join Him in the festivities.


Lord, please fill our hearts with gratitude for what Jesus did for us. Let us never react to that with indifference, as if it was nothing. Amen.