By David Faust
Some friends of mine recently adopted a dog. It’s a mixed breed—half Dachshund and half something much larger, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Friendly and good with children, the dog is a rescue, my friends say fondly. From the pet owners I have encountered, I observe that it increases the love between owner and animal when the pet is a rescue they have freed from harm or confinement.
Do you ever think of yourself as a rescue?
In Need of a Rescuer
David praised God and said, “He rescued me from my powerful enemy . . . . He brought me out into a specious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (2 Samuel 22:18, 20). Peter said “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials” (2 Peter 2:9)—a fact Peter knew from personal experience, for one time the Lord literally rescued him from drowning by lifting him out of the sea (Matthew 14:25-33).
The benefits are clear when someone is pulled out of a burning building or dragged safely away from an auto accident. If you’re dying from a deadly disease or drowning in deep water, it’s obvious you need to be rescued. What does a spiritual rescue involve? Jesus pronounced blessings on the poor in spirit, but pride and prosperity prevent us from recognizing our spiritual poverty. Why yearn for a mansion in Heaven if you’re comfortable in your four-bedroom house? Who needs a lifeguard if you’re a good swimmer? Who needs a physician if you’re healthy? Who needs a Savior if you’re safe? Who needs a rescuer if all is well?
On a Rescue Mission
A woman with a city-wide reputation for immorality was moved to tears by Jesus’ teaching. It was obvious to everyone that she had lived a self-destructive life. Another individual in the room, however, didn’t feel the personal need to be rescued from anything. Jesus asked Simon the Pharisee an interesting question: “Do you see this woman?” No, Simon didn’t really see her. Simon saw a problem; Jesus saw a person. Simon saw a nuisance; Jesus saw a need. Simon saw a situation to avoid; Jesus saw a chance to help. The Lord went on to declare, “Whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47). What made the difference? She recognized her need for deliverance. Jesus saw more love in that streetwise woman than he saw in the self-righteous, self-satisfied, do-everything-by-the-book Pharisee.
No matter how comfortable and self-sufficient we feel, all of us need the Lord’s deliverance. We need to be rescued from despair. Without God, life is “utterly meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). We need to be rescued from guilt. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The gap between sinful humanity and a holy God can be bridged only by God’s grace, not by human effort. We need to be rescued from death. Apart from the resurrected Christ, what hope do we have when we die?
The apostle Paul asked, “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24). Thankfully the Bible reveals the answer. Jesus Christ came to earth on a rescue mission—to seek and save the lost. Because of Christ, we can be members of God’s family, viewed by our Master with special fondness. We are his rescues.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.
|April 4||M.||Exodus 14:30–15:3||Israel’s Salvation|
|April 5||T.||2 Samuel 22:2-7, 17-20||David’s Deliverance|
|April 6||W.||Psalm 13||Prevailing Trust|
|April 7||T.||2 Samuel 7:8-12||Fulfilled Trust|
|April 8||F.||Psalm 54||Triumphant Trust|
|April 9||S.||2 Timothy 1:8-14||Trust Without Shame|
|April 10||S.||Luke 7:36-50||A Fresh Start|