Bible Verse: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8)
Some years ago, I read a story that brought a tear to my eye and it reminded me of just how powerful a force love can be, and the sacrifices that some people will make because of it.
“It was late on a cold Christmas Eve in South Korea during the Korean War. A young mother-to-be, whose husband had been killed in the conflict began to feel the pains of labour. She knew it was time to make her way to the mission clinic a couple of miles away. The pains came faster and more intensely than she expected. When she got to the bridge crossing a ravine not far from the clinic, she could go no further, and so she sought shelter under the bridge, and there without help, gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
The next morning the missionary nurse who worked at the clinic got into her ancient jeep to attend the Christmas services in the village church. As her jeep crossed the little bridge the engine suddenly died. Getting out to investigate, the missionary thought she heard a faint cry. There it was again. It seemed to be coming from under the bridge! When she went down to look, she found the baby boy lovingly wrapped in all his mother’s clothes, her lifeless body lying beside him, naked and frozen.
Overcome by what she’d found, and the significance of finding a newborn boy on Christmas morning, the nurse decided that she would adopt the little orphan as her own son. She named him Kim, and he grew up to be a healthy boy.
On Christmas Eve, as he was turning twelve, his mother decided she would tell him of the unusual circumstances of his birth. The next day Kim and his mother made their way to the village church for the Christmas celebration. On the way there Kim asked to stop by the graveyard where his birth mother was buried. When they got there he asked to go up alone.
She watched spellbound as the young boy made his way up to the simple grave. Slowly he began to take off his clothes. First his jacket and shirt, then his trousers, laying them all lovingly and carefully on his mother’s grave until he stood there naked in the cold Korean winter.
When his adopted mother finally came up behind him to wrap her own coat around him she heard him saying, “Mother, you did it all for me. You did it all for me!”
I still get a lump in my throat as I remember the first time I read that story of love and sacrifice, and it reminds me of yet another similar story of love and sacrifice which is even more profound. Scripture tells us how the Almighty Sovereign Glorious Creator God stepped down from His heavenly thrown, stripped Himself of all His visible majesty and power in order to be born into His own creation as a helpless babe in a dirty animal shelter. Then when His ministry on earth was completed, we see Him hanging on a rough cross, spilling out His life blood, willingly wrapping us in His compassion and forgiveness.
Why would He do that? Why would He sacrifice everything for us? Because His love for us is so much more than we can possibly imagine. He did it so that you and I could live. Jesus’ horrible death yields for us abundant and eternal life. Such love is almost incomprehensible, and yet we who believe, know it to be true. Our response to such amazing love should be to take all that we are and have, and like the little Korean boy, lay it down and declare, “Lord, you did it all for me. You did it all for me!”
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.