2001-02-09 - A Story and a Thought
Originally Published 1998-12-21
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
A farmer in Illinois was found kneeling at the head of a soldier's grave in Nashville. He was asked by a passerby, "Is that your boy?" To this he replied, "No. He lived in our town, and I have come to find his grave." The passerby said, "Perhaps you represent his father, who could not come?" "Yes. My neighbor was glad to have me come; but I came for myself."
"You see, I have seven children, all of them small, and my wife is sickly. I was drafted. There was nobody to carry on the farm, and I could not hire a substitute. My thirteen dollars a month would not feed the family. It seemed as though I must go, and they must suffer. When we were in our greatest trouble about it -- just the morning I was to report to camp -- my neighbor's son came over to the house and offered to go to war for me. He said he had nobody depending on him, and could go better than I could."
"He went, was wounded at Chickamauga, was brought to Nashville hospital, and this is his grave." The farmer went on to tell the passerby that he had come a long distance, at a great cost, to write upon the headboard of his soldier friend, "Died he for me."
"Died he for me" is a powerful statement. It is a statement of great sagacity and profundity. "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend (John 15:13)." And this is precisely what Christ has done for all who will come to him in faith and repentance. It is good to ask ourselves, from time to time, whom it is that Christ died for when He was crucified.
Died he for whom? The news of salvation is that Christ died for whomsoever. He died for whoever will come to Him, acknowledging that he has done things that offend God, and is in need of forgiveness and someone to save him or her from the penalty of offending God. The news of salvation is for whosoever will confess his sins and believe upon the saving work of Christ for salvation.
"Died He for me!" We can exclaim with confidence and courage, if we trust in Christ and believe in the salvation offered in Him. May God apply this truth to our hearts anew this day.
The story of the soldier going in the place of the farmer is much like the work of Christ in salvation. Christ died in the place of His children just as the soldier died in the place of the farmer. Christ paid the penalty that we should pay, so that we would not have to suffer the results of our sinful ways. Thus, Died He for me.
Soli Deo Gloria,