In the summer of 2018 I watched the daily news, hoping for good news about the Wild Boars, a junior football (soccer) team in Thailand. They’d gone into a set of caves with their young coach to celebrate a birthday and became trapped due to rising waters.
After nine days of searching, with hope starting to fade, divers found all thirteen team members alive! This, however, was only the beginning. The rescue team had to figure out how to get the boys out of the caves, their mission hampered by the rising rain water and parts of the caves so narrow it was difficult even for experienced divers. During a break in the rain, between days 15 and 17 after entering the caves, the twelve boys and their coach were all successfully rescued. It really was amazing, and people around the world celebrated.
In the Bible, we’ve been reading about the world’s greatest ever rescue plan: God’s miraculous rescue of us. We weren’t stuck in a cave, but we were trapped – enslaved by the power of darkness and sin. However, God, motivated by His great love for us, planned our rescue, including a way for our debt to be paid and for us to be set free. His rescue plan was costly – giving His one and only Son. Jesus lived perfectly, yet died to pay our debt of sin and gloriously rose again, defeating death. We are saved through faith in Christ alone.
Just like the boys couldn’t rescue themselves from the caves, we can’t rescue ourselves from our sin. Each of us has to recognize our need to be rescued. As independent people we like to think we can sort out our own mess. Admitting our need for rescue can be difficult.
Imagine if some of the boys trapped inside the caves had said to the rescuers, “I don’t want to be rescued. I’ll wait until I can do it myself!” We would think they were foolish. Yet many of us reject God’s offer of rescue, thinking we don’t need to be saved or we want to do it ourselves.
Even as Christians, we can be tempted to try to cover up our sin or fix it, rather than humbly confessing it to God. This is an ongoing part of the Christian life. Just as we start our Christian journey by God’s grace, so we continue in it.
In Mark 2:17 Jesus said, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” In the Gospels, we see Jesus, God in flesh who should be repulsed by our sinfulness, instead having loving compassion. He reaches out to sinners, healing them, teaching them, eating with them, crying over them, and restoring them. Those who knew they were sinners seemed to gravitate toward Jesus. So should we! Throughout our Christian lives we must remember that we are sinners who need saving and cry out to Christ, who loves us.
We are saved from separation from God and the power of darkness. But this is not all! We are saved to the kingdom of the Son, in whom we are set free and forgiven! We are saved from the eternal separation from God we deserve and are instead given eternal life with Him! The enormity of this transfer is difficult for me to comprehend.
This rescue transforms our everyday living! We are given the Holy Spirit to help us live worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him, bearing fruit, growing in our knowledge of Him, being strengthened to display patience, steadfastness, and joyful thanks for all the Father has done! We aren’t able to live like this perfectly yet, but Jesus’ heart is gentle and humble toward us. He continues to forgive and encourage us, providing our souls with rest (see Matthew 11:28-30).
The boys in Thailand were filled with thankfulness to their rescuers, as were their families. They all realized their dangerous position. How much more thankful are we to God for rescuing us, redeeming us, and gifting us with eternal life?
I relied completely on the Lord,
and he turned toward me
and heard my cry for help.
He lifted me out of the watery pit,
out of the slimy mud.
He placed my feet on a rock
and gave me secure footing.
He gave me reason to sing a new song,
praising our God.
May many see what God has done,
so that they might swear allegiance to him and trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)
Week 2 Challenge:
We are alive in Christ! In what ways has God made you alive? Reflect on the ways God has restored your life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and relationally.
Week 2 Reading Plan
Week 2 Memory Verse
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