Celebrating the “Rescuer”

A few days ago I received the monthly newsletter from one of the churches that we stay in touch with.  Each month, the pastor writes an interesting article that touches upon some life experiences, and then he brings home an important spiritual truth from Scripture.  I hope you enjoy this article, and that you get the point that he brings out at the end.

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“This may appeal more to dog lovers than anyone else, but I think you will see the significance in the end. Occasionally we catch a story in the paper or on the news about a fire-fighter saving a pet’s life. The image is moving for most as the animal receives oxygen and in some cases mouth to snout resuscitation. No victim is too small or unimportant in eyes of some rescuers.

During my days on the ambulance, I was dispatched to standby at a house fire. When we arrived, we found the fire-fighters “putting the wet stuff on the red stuff.” Thankfully no one was home so there were no victims (or so we thought), but we noticed the fire-fighters carry several small items from the burning house.

The homeowner arrived and was in tears as she watched the rescuers carry out her three pure-bred, show dogs. They were small dogs, but held a big place in the owner’s heart. She immediately called her veterinarian who arrived minutes later. What happened next was amazing to watch.

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The animals were wet, black with soot, and barely moving or breathing. The vet took one in his hands and began to rub it vigorously. Next, he cradled its head in one hand, held the body in the other, and began jerking its head downward forcefully. Its world was tossed upside down, but soot stained fluid began to run from the dog’s mouth.

The vet deep suctioned the animal and moved to the others. After the flipping and deep suctioning, he gave each one a fluid bolus and a shot to stimulate the heart. Within minutes these nearly dead, lethargic dogs began to whimper, shake, and walk. They were brought back from near death.

Maybe you identify with this story because you have lost a dog, experienced a house fire, love dogs, or are interested in medicine. I hope you identify with this story because in many ways it describes each of us. Sin smothers us and chokes the life out of us. Each sin fills our body with death and decay, and pushes righteousness out.

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Sometimes we become so filled with sin that we become lethargic lumps of spiritual mess. Sometimes God turns our world upside down, whirls around, and knocks the wind out of us to get our attention. Even the most difficult times we endure are opportunities to draw closer to the Resurrection and the Life, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, our Rescuer, Jesus.

This Resurrection season, commonly referred to as Easter, is a reminder that Jesus gave his life to pay our penalty. His world was turned upside down when his disciples scattered, he was tormented and brutalized, and then finally killed on a cross. But what we celebrate is that the story does not end there.

He was dead. He was buried. He was mourned over. He was raised. He is at the right hand of God full of life, and freely giving life to those who respond to his rescue attempts. Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ (John 11:25-26). Do you?” *

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I thought it was appropriate to post this article now for two reasons.  This coming weekend is Easter Weekend, and it is always good to think reflectively upon what Jesus did for all of us so long ago when He died on the cross for us.  And secondly, I have just finished doing a verse-by-verse checking session on the Gospel of John with some national translators here in Papua New Guinea.

It has taken us six weeks to do this Advisor Check, where I go over the text with the national men and look for ways to improve the translation.  There may be errors or misunderstandings in their text, or there might be something important missing that needs to be put back into the translation.

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During the course of these six weeks, it is easy at times to forget the bigger picture of why we are going to such lengths to improve this translation.  We need to always remember that the single most important message of Scripture and the reason for what we do, is the message of God’s love for people expressed through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

So during the checking sessions, I try to make sure we summarize what we are translating.  I want to make sure The Message does not get lost in the process of translation.  So I will now end this posting in the same way that I started it.  I hope you enjoyed the story about the fire-fighters rescuing the dogs.  But more importantly, I hope that you understand that all of us are in need of a “Rescuer”, namely Jesus.

* Used by permission.