‘A selfless act of care’


By Pastor John Young

Your Pastor Speaks

It was a test of strength and stamina, similar to the drills John Offerdahl faced every day in training camp. This time, however, lives were at stake. The Miami Dolphins linebacker used his athletic skill to help save two people from a car that had crashed into a murky pond.

Offerdahl and some friends were standing outside his bagel shop when a car crashed into nearby water. The men raced to the site, dove in and pulled out a man who was trapped in the back seat. The woman in the front seat was harder to reach. Her door was locked and she was submerged under water. “By the time the lady was saved, you couldn’t see the car. She had to be under the water at least four minutes,” Offerdahl said. “By the grace of God, she lived!”

Without the heroic efforts of John Offerdahl and his friends, that couple would have perished beneath those murky waters. In a similar way, all of humankind is perishing. But because God reached out to us in a selfless act of care, we too can be rescued.

One evening Jesus explained this wonderful gift of kindness to a Pharisee named Nicodemus. The Pharisee came to talk with Jesus, to discuss the truths He had been teaching. Jesus told Nicodemus that only those who had been “born again” could enter the Kingdom of God (v. 3). Confused by the Lord’s statement, Nicodemus asked how an old man could enter his mother’s womb for a second time (v. 4). Jesus explained that He was referring to a spiritual birth, not a physical birth (vv. 5-15). Those who are “born again” receive eternal life. They are, in a very real sense, snatched from the clutches of death. Jesus dove into the murky waters of sin to retrieve us. Only, unlike Offerdahl and his friends who escaped unharmed, Jesus gave His life in the process of delivering us.

Jesus, God’s Son, was lifted up on a cross so that all who believe in Him will have eternal life (vv. 16-18). There is nothing God could do to express His love more clearly. And there is nothing He could do to make eternal life easier to obtain.

While Nicodemus approached Jesus in the darkness of the evening, the Lord encourages us to step into the light (vv. 19-21). It’s in His light that our sinful condition is revealed, and only there that God’s work through His Son is fully understood. When we trust Christ as our personal savior, we receive a gift from God – the gift of eternal life. His selfless act of care on the cross secured this gift for us.

Imagine, if you would, Offerdahl diving into the water that day, reaching out to deliver the trapped lady and her refusing his help, saying, “I’d rather do it myself.” This is the way many people reply to Jesus when he offers his gift to them. However, the Bible is very clear (Ephesians 2:8 & 9), “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works…” Please don’t refuse Jesus’ selfless act of care!

The writer is the pastor at First Baptist Church, 309 E. North St., Sidney.

No posts to display