By Alan Bailey
This summer, several States of Australia have been profoundly affected by massive bushfires. Fire-fighters have experienced the most dangerous conditions ever. Facing a wall of flame and fierce heat must be daunting to say the least. Sometimes the light of day would vanish and in its place an eerie orange and red sky. A huge fire-front would roar, driven by wild wind taking all before it. Red hot embers would fly through the air, spreading the fire-front and adding to the hazards faced by those who try to fight it.
We must recognise the bravery of these men. They risk their lives and unfortunately some of those lives are lost. Due to determined and persistent effort, homes and lives have been saved. Long hours go by and these hard workers have little or no respite. Some didn't sleep for several days. We all have a debt of thanks to pay to these heroes who have given themselves so unstintingly. No doubt, some will suffer on-going trauma.
Long ago, a man faced an incredible challenge, calling for personal sacrifice. He was cornered by heavyweights from His own race who hated the claims He made about Himself and who were determined to have Him executed. He also faced a ruthless Roman system that showed little mercy to those who were accused and brought to trial. As well, and most importantly, He faced the fire of His Father's anger against sin and evil.
You know who I mean. At this time of the year especially, the event comes to light and people recognise that something unique happened just outside the city of Jerusalem on what we call Good Friday. When Jesus suffered on that cruel cross, the blame of the sins of others was upon Him—He who was innocent. In our place He bore the pain and the shame, to the end that we who were guilty could be set free.
It reads this way in 1 Peter 3:18. Christ died for your sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.
Have we acknowledged the wonder of the grace and mercy involved in this sacrifice? Have you yielded to the claims of Christ upon your life?
Now is the time.•