When Deng Jinjie saw people struggling in the water of the Sunshui River in the Hunan province of China, he didn’t just walk by. In an act of heroism, he jumped into the water and helped save four members of a family. Unfortunately, the family left the area while he was still in the water. Sadly, Jinjie, exhausted from his rescue efforts, was overwhelmed and swept away by the river current and drowned.
When we were drowning in our sin, Jesus Christ gave His life to come to our aid. We were the ones He came to rescue. He came down from heaven above and pulled us to safety. He did this by taking the punishment for all of our wrongdoing as He died on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) and 3 days later was resurrected. The Bible says, “By this we know love, because [Jesus] laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16). Jesus’ sacrificial love for us now inspires us to show genuine love “in deed and in truth” (v.18) to others with whom we have relationships.
If we overlook Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, we’ll fail to see and experience His love. Today, consider the connection between His sacrifice and His love for you. He has come for your rescue.
Rescued: By Jesus’ love; Rescued: For life above; Rescued: To serve my King; Rescued: My praise to bring. —Verway
Jesus laid down His life to show His love for us.
John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7) and to whom Jesus entrusted the care of His mother, Mary (19:26-27), was well qualified to write about love. In 1 John 2, he described the quality and authenticity of the love expected of the children of God. Here in 1 John 3, he pointed to the death of Christ and directed us to Him as our standard of Christian love (v.16). True Christian love is sacrificial action and selfless generosity displayed both in speech and in actions (vv.16-18).
When a woodchuck started eating our garage (well, just the trim), I bought a live trap with plans to transplant the little guy to a park. I baited it with an assortment of goodies and opened the trap door. The next morning, I was excited to see a little critter in my trap—until I noticed that it was no woodchuck. I had snared a skunk.
I went online to see how to untrap the skunk without having it . . . well, you know. The solutions were extremely cautious in their descriptions of how to protect yourself while releasing the animal. Plastic bags. Gloves. Tarps. Blankets. Goggles. The task looked daunting and dangerous.
Then my son-in-law Ewing stepped up. He simply walked over to the trap, opened the door, and coaxed our striped friend on its way with a few sprays from the garden hose.
Sometimes our fears can lead to inaction. We worry so much about protecting ourselves that we fail to simply step up. When King Asa learned that the Lord wanted him to remove the idols from Israel, he “took courage” (2 Chron. 15:8). He could have had a rebellion on his hands for doing this. But he stepped up, and as a result the nation rejoiced (v.15).
Facing a spiritual challenge? The Lord will help you step up with courage and trust Him for the outcome.
Let the road be rough and dreary, And its end far out of sight, Foot it bravely, strong or weary; Trust in God and do the right. —Macleod
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
While the books of Samuel and Kings follow the monarchy from the days of Saul all the way into the divided kingdom, the books of Chronicles devote only one chapter to Saul (1 Chron. 10). The writer spends most of his time and effort recording the reigns of David and Solomon, presenting their reigns as the high point of Israel’s history.
If you’re like me, you seldom read the full text of contracts for online services before you agree to them. They go on for pages, and most of the legal jargon makes no sense to ordinary people like me.
I was quite surprised, therefore, when a friend from Africa made me aware of this one-of-a-kind service agreement for online software. Instead of a wordy license telling people how not to use it, the developer offers a simple blessing urging people to use it for good:
May you do good and not evil. May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others. May you share freely, never taking more than you give.
At first I thought, Wow. Imagine if more terms of service agreements were written as blessings instead of legal documents. Then I thought, The agreement Jesus makes with us is like that. He offers us forgiveness of sin, peace with God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In return, all He asks is that we do good (Gal. 6:10), forgive as we’ve been forgiven (Luke 6:37), and love others as He loves us (John 13:34).
The beauty of Jesus’ agreement with us is that even though we fail to live up to the terms, we still receive the blessing.
Bestowed with benefits daily, Sent from the Father above; Mercies and blessings abounding, Gifts of His marvelous love. —Anon.
As we have opportunity, let us do good to all. —Galatians 6:10
In Luke 6:20-49, Luke recorded a sermon by Jesus that is similar to the sermon recorded in Matthew 5–7. Some scholars believe it was the same sermon, while others say that Jesus taught in two different settings. In Matthew, he taught it “on a mountain” (5:1), while here, Jesus taught these same truths “on a level place” (Luke 6:17).