...because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.Isaiah 53:12
When I first came to Peninsula Bible Church as a pastor, we had an unusual opportunity to have in our home a Japanese man who had become a Christian evangelist. His name was Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, the commander of the squadron that bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He told us in his broken English of that event and how he felt at the time he gave the command to drop the bombs. After the war he became a hero in Japan, yet he felt his life was empty. Then he heard the amazing story of one of the American fliers, Jacob DeShazer, one of Doolittle's bombers, who had been captured and put in prison in Japan. At first he was a very intractable prisoner, but someone gave him a New Testament and, reading it, his whole life was changed.
Fuchida heard about that change in the life of DeShazer, and Fuchida himself began to read the New Testament. When he came to the story of the crucifixion, he told us that he was so moved by the prayer that broke from the lips of Jesus as he hung upon the cross with his torturers and tormentors gathered about him,
Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing (Luke 23:34), that his own heart broke. He could not understand how anyone could pray for his enemies and ask for them to be forgiven. In that moment he opened his heart to Christ, and ultimately became a Christian evangelist. For some years he traveled throughout this country, speaking especially to young people about the grace that could come into a life through One who was
numbered with the transgressors . . . and made intercession for them.
This is a love story. What kind of love is this that awakens within us a response of deep and abiding gratitude, a willingness to admit that we need help? Our only adequate response is found in the words of a hymn,
Oh, love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee. I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths its flow May richer fuller be.
I am overwhelmed by your great love, O Lord, that will never let me go and is changing me into your likeness.
The realization that the perfect and sinless Jesus became sin for us should break our hearts and radically change our lives. Does His sacrificial love redefine love as both noun and verb, both essence and expression? Are we learning to love for Jesus' sake and by the power of His Presence?