Fiorello LaGuardia was the first man elected Mayor of New York City for three consecutive terms (during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of WW2). He was only 5’4” and always wore a carnation in his lapel, so many New Yorkers called him “the Little Flower”. He was a colorful character who used to ride NYC fire trucks, raid speakeasies with the police department, take entire orphanages to baseball games and, whenever the New York newspapers were on strike, he would go on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids.
One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward in the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself.
Within a few minutes, a ragged old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia her daughter’s husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick and her two grandchildren were starving. The shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. “It’s a real bad neighborhood, your honor,” he told the mayor. “She’s got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson.”
LaGuardia turned to the woman and said, “I’ve got to punish you; the law makes no exceptions. $10 or 10 days in jail.” But even as he pronounced sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a bill and tossed it into his hat saying, “Here is the $10 fine which I now pay; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom 50¢ for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”
The following day, a New York newspaper reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered old woman who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, 50¢ of that amount contributed by the red-faced grocery store owner. Some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations and New York policemen, who each had just paid their fine of 50¢, gave the mayor a standing ovation.
Aren’t you thankful Jesus took your place of punishment for sin and paid the price you could never pay? The penalty for sin was too much for us – it was Far beyond our ability to pay – but Jesus was willing to be our Great Substitute! He left the splendor of heaven and entered our humanity, humbling Himself even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:5). He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24). He endured the wrath of God against sin. “It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer” (Isaiah 53:10).
The great hymn writer Charles Wesley exclaimed: “And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour’s blood? Died he for me, who caused his pain! For me, who him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
This Sunday, March 14, we welcome Chris and Lindsey Carter, missionaries to Japan, as they join us in both the 9:30am Adult Bible class and the 10:35am worship service. Please don’t miss it!
If you are not able to join us in person in the building at 10:35am for worship, please join us online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG). It will also be uploaded later that day to our website (honoluluag.org) and YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God).
My wife, Shirley Ashpole, will be our guest speaker on Sunday, March 21. She will be speaking on “If Only...!” from John 11, the raising of Lazarus.
Palm Sunday is coming up March 28. Resurrection Sunday will be April 4. Get ready to praise our risen Savior!
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!