Friday, December 08, 2017

Would you die for a stranger?

On Wednesday the 19th. November 1997, the M.V. Green Lily ran aground on Bressay, near Grut Wick. After loading a cargo of approximately 3000 tonnes of frozen fish, bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Isles, the Croatian-born captain decided to set sail in foul weather, in spite of warnings from the Harbour Master not to leave the port at Lerwick, Shetland. Shortly after leaving the harbour, the ship suffered engine failure in a force 9 gale forecast to reach force 11 imminently and was left drifting in 50ft. waves, eventually running aground off Bressay.

Thankfully the crew members were successfully rescued by the Lerwick lifeboat and the coastguard rescue helicopter from Sumburgh Airport. Sadly, after ensuring that the last crew member had been saved, Mr. Bill Deacon, the helicopter winchman tragically lost his life. The fifty year old father of two, from Ellon in Aberdeenshire, was about to be lifted onto the Shetland Coastguard rescue helicopter when his winchline snagged and his colleagues had to cut the line. The heroic winchman was swept to his death from the deck of the stricken 3624-ton freighter by hurricane force winds. It was reported in a local newspaper that Bill Deacon had given his life for strangers. He was posthumously awarded the George medal for his bravery.
We salute the courage of such a man who was prepared to risk his own life that others might be saved. That, my friend, is the story of the gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, left heaven with the express objective of giving His life to save us from the eternal consequences of our sin. The lives of the crew members on board the M.V. Green Lily had been put in grave danger by the reckless actions of the captain, his autocratic management style and his obstinacy in refusing to heed the advice of the Harbour Master. The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, willingly came to this earth to give His life; to die in our stead. Bill Deacon had no idea that he would not return home alive; he never planned to die in such a manner; he hoped to return to his wife and family, safe and sound. Alas, it was not to be.
The Son of God said Himself, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" Luke 19.10. In John 6.38 He said, "I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." He knew that His death was inevitable if men were to be rescued from going down to the everlasting burnings. In John 12.24 we read, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" John 3.14,15. My friend, if you are unsaved, your only hope of reaching heaven and escaping hell, lies in you trusting this loving Saviour Who willingly died for us. "… while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5.8
There was One Who was willing to die in my stead
That a soul so unworthy might live,
And the path to the cross He was willing to tread,
All the sins of my life to forgive.
(Carrie E. Breck)

Reproduced by kind permission of Assembly Testimony Publications


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