“If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!
Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”
As a disciple of Jesus, you are so wonderfully blessed! You are loved and cherished by the God of Heaven and earth, and the One who has been appointed as His co-ruler has invited you to be with Him and learn from Him. You are a full member of God’s family and a citizen of His endless kingdom. You have your Shepherd-King’s guarantee of protection and provision no matter what you might face in your life.
Even as you celebrate these many blessings, remember that as a disciple of Jesus you are also called to become like Him. As He is full of compassionate love, He is training His disciples to have that same compassionate love. As He is moved to save those in peril, so He is teaching us to be the kind of people who will take action to rescue those who are in danger.
As the proverb quoted above so clearly says, not only can we show our love by rescuing those in danger – either from others or from themselves – but we have an obligation to do so. We who know the truth must be willing to do something to intervene for those who are in terrible danger without it. It’s heartbreaking but true that so many around us are “staggering toward slaughter” and “being led away to death” by sin, Satan, and the world. Most of them don’t even know it!
It is not just the unbelievers who need our loving intervention, though. As Jesus and His apostles made so clear, we must be willing to save our fellow disciples when they are endangered by sin. Consider what James, a half-brother of Jesus and an important leader of the early church, wrote:
“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20
Again, take to heart what the apostle Paul wrote:
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” Galatians 6:1
And then there’s this statement by Jude, another half-brother of Jesus:
“Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude 1:22-23
It is difficult, but courage is a prerequisite for disciples of Jesus. Let us be like our Master and intervene for the good of others no matter the cost to ourselves. May we partner with Him in bringing life from death, and freedom from slavery.
Rescued and learning to be a rescuer with you,