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Which Would He Save?

An email forwarded to me the other day contained an interesting story. You may have seen this one, too - but if you haven't, it's worth reading. (There was no author attached, so I can't attribute it.)

After a few of the usual Sunday hymns, the church’s pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before giving his sermon, introduced a guest minister who was attending the service that day.

The pastor told the congregation that this guest was one of his dearest friends and that he wanted him to have some time to greet everyone and share whatever he felt would be appropriate.

With that, the elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.

“A father, his son, and one of his son’s friends were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, “when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he couldn’t keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as it capsized.”

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested.

He continued, “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy would he throw the other end of the lifeline? He had only seconds to make the decision. The father knew his son was a Christian and that his friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of the waves.”

“As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’ he threw the lifeline to his son’s friend. By the time the father had pulled the young man back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.”

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straight up, anxiously awaiting the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth.

“The father,” he continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus. He could not bear the thought of his son’s friend entering eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save his son’s friend.”

“How great the love of God that He should do the same for us. Our Heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take hold of the lifeline He is throwing out to you.”

With that, the old man returned to his chair as silence filled the room.

Minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side.

“That was a nice story,” one of them said, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son’s life in the hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”

“Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his face as he looked up at the boys. “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His son for me.”

“You see…I was that father...and your Pastor was my son’s friend.”


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