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The Supreme Sacrifice


eslie Weatherhead, in his book Key Next Door, told about a benevolent ruler named Goho who, centuries ago, lived on the island of Taiwan. One ritual he desperately wanted stopped was the ancient custom of offering humans for sacrifices. He wanted them to substitute an ox or a pig for their annual offering.

For many years he succeeded. However, after one extremely poor harvest the tribal leaders complained that the animal sacrifices weren't working and they needed a human sacrifice to appease the gods whom they believed to be angry at them.

Unfortunately, Goho failed to convince his tribe of the error of their way and finally gave in to them. He said. "Go into the forest tomorrow morning. There you will find a victim tied to a tree. He will be wearing a red robe of sacrifice and a red cloth over his face and head. Strike! For this is your next victim."

The following morning the men went to the forest and found the victim just as Goho said. In a crazed fury they rushed in and decapitated him. When they uncovered his head they realized what they had done. They had killed Goho, their leader!

According to the story, Taiwan has never again had a human sacrifice. Goho accomplished through his death what his teaching failed to do. As a result, a red robe became a symbol of a changed life. When people radically changed their lives for better they wear a red robe and became known as "people of the robe."

'She's going down,' the men cried
as they scrambled to don their life
jackets and board the life boats.

In more recent times during World War II in the dead of winter the SS Dorchester with 903 troops and four chaplains aboard was headed across the icy North Atlantic. In the early morning of February 3, 1943, at 1:00AM the Dorchester was hit with a German U-boat torpedo. "She's going down," the men cried as they scrambled to don their life jackets and board the life boats.

One GI approached one of the chaplains, Lt. George Fox, saying, "I've lost my life jacket."

Fox gave the GI his jacket. The other three chaplains did the same before the ship sank. All four linked their arms and prayed as the Dorchester went down. All were awarded posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross.

Giving one's life to save others is without question the supreme sacrifice that anyone could ever make. It takes the greatest love and the rawest kind of courage.

As the Bible puts it, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."1 Apart from times of war, and even then, few ever do this willingly.

But what about someone giving their life for an enemy? This is exactly what God's Son, Jesus Christ, did for us on the cross of Calvary. In the powerful words of Scripture: "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."2

Many people, often very good people, reason that if they live a good life, don't steal, cheat on their spouse, pay their taxes, are thoughtful, kind, and generous, then that is all that God requires for them to go to heaven. The fallacy with this belief is that there is no one alive, or ever has been—apart from Jesus Christ—who is absolutely sinless and qualifies for entrance into heaven.

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All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.