TITLE: The Greatest Gift
DATE: November 25, 2019
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: John 15:12-13 – ESV - “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
"We thought we hit the jackpot."
Looking back on the events of last month, that’s how one member of Stephone Ritchie Sr.'s family reacted to the surf after they had made the drive from the Orlando area to Cocoa Beach during their Florida vacation.
But, the jackpot was soon to go bust.
It was October. 24 and they had only been at their destination for about a quarter-hour when their fun was short-lived. Barely 15 minutes after arriving at their destination beach, 38-year-old Ritchie realized his three boys were far out in the water.
They were too far out.
Understand, the boys weren’t trying to prove themselves, nor had they broken the family rules. They had been caught in a rip current which was taking them out to sea. Dad ventured out into the water to herd the boys back in.
Dad managed to get them in but he had difficulties doing the same for himself. His 19-year-old son asked if he needed help and Dad said, “Yes.” But accomplishing the helping of Dad took a bit. During that time the waves kept coming and pounding the father.
Eventually he was brought ashore. Dad was alive, but barely. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him, but they failed. The Christian father was gone. Surveying the day, Ritchie’s own father, the grandfather of the family observed: “You lay your life down for your kids. You know, that's what he did."
Now all of us who read a story like that wish that it might have ended up differently. Still, there are times when someone has to die so someone else might live. When He first laid out the plan for the redemption of disobedient humanity, the Lord knew that was what had to happen.
His Son had to live and die so that we might be rescued.
To save us is why Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It is why He spent His lifetime being hated and hunted, misunderstood and misinterpreted. Looking back on His life Jesus could see how the sick had been healed; the hungry fed; the dead raised up and restored. He forgave sinners, preached repentance and pronounced forgiveness.
And for a life dedicated to helping, Jesus was betrayed by a supposed friend; renounced by another disciple and had leaders of church and state betray Him. Justice was denied Him and, according to prophesy, He was crucified.
From start to finish it seemed like He had lost...but His 3rd day resurrection reminds us God is in control and there will be a reunion for all who fall asleep in the Lord.
Which means the day will come with the Ritchie family will be reunited, never to be torn apart again.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, for the sacrifices You made; for the hatred You endured and the sins You carried, I give thanks. May I proclaim the wonders of Your love In Your holy Name I pray it. Amen.
The devotion for today was inspired by various recent news articles. For further reading you may wish to go to this address: http://newser.com/s282513 and the article written by Jenn Gidman .
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html