Ernest Gordon tells an amazing story of the power of sacrificial love in his book, Miracle on the River Kwai.
Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labor on a jungle railroad, had degenerated to barbarous behavior, but one afternoon something happened.
A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else. When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot . . . It was obvious the officer meant what he had said.
Finally, one man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel and beat the man to death. When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first check point.
The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others! . . . The incident had a profound effect. . . . The men began to treat each other like brothers.
When the victorious Allies swept in, the survivors (human skeletons) lined up in front of their captors . . . (and instead of attacking their captors) insisted: “No more hatred. No more killing. Now what we need is forgiveness.”
Aren’t you thankful Jesus was willing to suffer and die in your place? He paid the terrible judgment and endured the Father’s wrath against sin. It was so horrible that the Father had to turn away and, according to Matthew 27:46, “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”) What a terrible, remarkable price Jesus paid for our sin!
Jesus took the place of judgment and punishment that you and I deserved. He took our sin and gave us His righteousness. He took our shame and gave us His joy. He was willing to be cut off that we might be adopted. He became an outcast that we might become the Father’s sons and daughters. His life was cut short that we might live forever. Jesus took our death and gave us His life.
Bible scholars call it the Great Exchange. Paul declares (2 Corinthians 5:21), “God made him who had no sin to be sin (or a sin offering) for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Apart from Jesus Christ, we have Nothing. But in Him, we have Everything!
In 1707 the great hymn writer Isaac Watts wrote: “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood. See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown? Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” Amen and amen!
This Sunday, March 21, my wife, Shirley Ashpole, will be speaking on “If Only...!” from John 11, the raising of Lazarus at 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 be uploaded later that day to our website (honoluluag.org) and YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God).
Palm Sunday is coming up March 28. Resurrection Sunday will be April 4. Get ready to praise our risen Savior! On Sunday, April 11, we will celebrate a Friend Day. Invite your friends to enjoy the 10:35am worship service with you and stay for a potluck Fellowship Lunch that will take place right after the service. Can’t wait!
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!