There is no sweeter message than the message of rescue. I was reminded of this when I heard several stories of rescue from people who were trapped in the rubble of fallen buildings in Haiti. Some had been trapped in the rubble for days before rescuers discovered them and went to work to free them.
One elderly woman had been trapped for a week. While she was being pulled from the rubble, she emerged singing. Later, in the hospital, she remarked, "Just breathing is a pleasure."
There was a young man who was trapped in the rubble of a hospital. He was pinned to the floor and could not move. For five days, he reflected on his life and occasionally called out for help. On the fifth day, he heard somebody knocking with a hammer. He took a nearby stone and knocked back three times. For the rest of the day, he heard the sounds of various power tools working to free him. Finally, that evening, he heard a voice in broken French say, "My friend, I am here with other friends, and we are going to get you out.!" About five minutes later, someone removed a slab and he experienced a rush of warm sunshine on his face. He looked up and saw a man grinning down at him. The man said, "Good afternoon!" He replied with, "Thank You! Thank you!"
A 15 day old baby had been trapped in the rubble for eight days, nearly half of her little life. Everyone thought she was surely dead. Demolition crews were cleaning up the rubble of her house when they discovered she was still in her crib unharmed. Her mother, now living in a homeless camp, cried when she heard the news and ran to her baby. The grandfather remarked, "This wasn't the way Jesus wanted the baby to die. Everyone knew the baby was dead, except the Lord."
There are many more stories of rescue. Imagine, being trapped with no way out. Imagine the relief of having a rescuer come and do for you what you cannot do for yourself. This is exactly what our Lord did. The Bible is full of stories of rescue. The children of Israel, trapped in bondage ... rescued. A woman caught in adultery ... rescued. Three thousand lost souls on the day of Pentecost ... rescued. And the list goes on.
The Bible says. "While we were still helpless...Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom 5:6). We were stuck, enslaved, and trapped in sin. But, through the power of the Gospel, Jesus cut away sin and freed us from death. The power of salvation is in the Gospel (Rom 1:16), which is the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins, his burial, and resurrection (1 Cor 15:1-4).
Then Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel...(Mk 16:15)." This means that the power of salvation is in the Gospel, which was God's part. But the instrument of salvation is the church, which is our part.
God has entrusted the tools of rescue to us. We are surrounded by people trapped in sin. Oh, what wonderful stories we hear when we faithfully use the tools of rescue God has entrusted to us!