Once upon a time there was a little girl whose parents had died. She lived with her grandmother in an upstairs bedroom.
One night a fire broke out in the house and the grandmother perished while trying to rescue the little girl. The fire spread through the house very quickly and the first floor was soon engulfed in flames. As the fire spread through the house, the neighbours arrived and tried to enter the house but couldn’t because all the doors were blocked by flames. Someone called 999, but they knew that the fire department would arrive too late to save the little girl who was trapped upstairs. They could hear her cries in the upstairs bedroom, but there was nothing that anyone could do.
Suddenly, a man appeared with a tall ladder and raised it against the side of the house. He climbed the ladder, broke a window and disappeared into the house. Soon he reappeared at the window with the little girl in his arms. He descended the ladder just as an ambulance arrived, and he delivered the little girl to the paramedics who took her quickly to the hospital. The little girl survived, but the man who saved her disappeared into the night.
A few months later, the little girl went before a judge who had the responsibility of placing her in a foster home. She had no living relatives, so it was up to the courts to find a proper home for her.
The judge decided to interview several prospective people who were willing to take her in. After interviewing them all, he would make his decision. The little girl was present in the courtroom during all these proceedings.
The first person requesting custody of the child was a schoolteacher. She pointed out that the child would need a good education, and as a teacher, she could make sure that she learned a great deal. She knew how to deal with children, she said, and she knew how to take care of a girl like this one.
The next person was a farmer. He offered the little girl a wholesome environment, where she would learn principles of hard work and the simple life. She would get to be around animals and learn responsibility. Next was a rich woman who said, “I can give this child anything she needs or wants. I will provide her with the finest clothes and send her to the best schools. If she lives with me, she will have whatever her heart desires.” Several other people were interviewed, each of who explained why it would be to the little girl’s advantage to live with them.
“Does anyone else have anything to say before I make my decision?” asked the judge.
Just then a man came forward from the back of the courtroom. He walked very slowly and with a slight limp. From his old clothes, it was obvious that he wasn’t rich or well educated. When he got to the front of the room, he stood directly in front of the little girl and held out his arms. The crowd gasped. His hands and his arms were terribly burned and scarred.
“This is the man who saved me!” cried the little girl. With a leap, she threw her arms around the man’s neck, holding on for dear life, just as she had on the day of the fire. She buried her face in his shoulder and sobbed for a few moments. Then she looked up and smiled with a grin that lit up the courtroom.
“I think I’ve just made my decision,” said the judge. And the court was adjourned.
There is an old hymn that goes “Oh, how I love Jesus…Because he first loved me.” When we come to Jesus Christ, we come to him out of gratitude for what he did for us on the cross. People that know Jesus well, want to live for Him because of what he has done for us on the cross.
“Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His love like this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). Isn’t He kind, to take the punishment that we were due!