The door to the inn in Ragenbach, Germany was open to let in the summer breeze as well as the lunchtime crowd.  But that open door also provided an easy means of entry for a snarling, mad dog.  Sitting near the entrance, the village blacksmith quickly grabbed the dog.  “Get out while I hold him,” the smithy shouted.  The dog’s teeth tore the arms and thighs of the smith.  But he refused to loosen his hold.

When all the people had escaped, he flung the half-strangled beast from him against the wall, left the room, and locked the door.  The dog was shot.  But what about the man?  To his crying friends and family the blacksmith said, “Be quiet.  Don’t weep.  I’ve only done my duty.  When I am dead, think of me with love.  Before then, pray that I will not suffer long or too much.  I know I will become mad, but I will take care that no harm comes to you.”

The blacksmith went to his shop, took a strong chain, and riveted one end around his body.  The other end he fastened around the anvil.  Turning to his friends, he said, “It’s done!  You are safe.  I can’t hurt you.  Bring me food while I am well, and keep out of my reach when I am mad.  The rest I leave with God.”  In nine days he was dead.  He had died to save his friends.  That was love.

That is the kind of love Jesus had, and showed, to the world; except Jesus showed that kind of love for His enemies.  Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  When we were threatened by a painful, eternal death, the Savior grabbed hold of it and throttled it.  Sin, Satan, and death snapped and tore at Him.  But He offered Himself so we might be saved.  This action was not done without cost.

Jesus had to suffer so we might be saved.  He was crucified so that we might be cleared from the curse of sin.  He did all this so that we, the condemned, might be delivered.  Those who once had been destined for hell would be given heaven.  He gave Himself to save others.  That’s what this Holy Week is all about, a Savior who made the ultimate sacrifice to bring us life.  But death would not have the final say here.  We know of Easter, of Jesus’ resurrection, showing us His power over death and hell itself.  Jesus died, and rose, for you and me.  May we come together during this time to not only remember that unconditional love, but celebrate what that means for us for an eternity.


From one whom Jesus died and rose for,

Pastor Steve