US Air Flight 1549 didn’t last long. About three minutes. Who could have guessed that minutes after takeoff, the passengers would be in the middle of the Hudson River on a downed jetliner? I’ve been on airplanes in distress. I’ve been through emergency landings. So this one hits pretty close.
We won’t soon forget – and those passengers will never forget – the scenes of them lined up single file on both wings, surrounded by the icy waters of the Hudson. Thank God, this is not a story of carnage, disaster and grief-stricken loved ones. It’s a story of lives saved. A story of people rescued.
Clearly, the only hope for the passengers of Flight 1549 was a rescue. That’s something I understand all too well. Not because I’ve ever needed a physical rescue. But because I was in a situation where I would have died if a rescuer had not come. Thank God, He did. In fact, there are millions of people like me who owe their lives to a Rescuer named Jesus.
In my case, it was my own fault I was in mortal danger. I’ve made the same choice the Bible says we’ve all made – to hijack my life from the One who gave it to me. God’s word for it is “sin.” What it amounts to is me saying, “God, You run the universe, and I’ll run me, thank You.” So a lifetime of “me” choices has left each of in serious danger. Eternal danger
. Here’s how God puts it: “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own” (Isaiah 53:– NLT). And “your sins have cut you off from God” (Isaiah 59:2). Even without the Bible verse, we sort of know in our soul that we’re away from God. To be away from Him right now means living with an incurable hole in our hearts…without a fulfilling reason to live…with no power to change our dark side. It’s hard to live without Him. It’s hell to die without Him.
Like those passengers in that sinking plane, there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves. Oh, we try. It’s called being religious, being nice. But sin carries a spiritual death penalty – “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). If what we needed was a religion, take your pick. But we need a rescue. Being good can’t pay a death penalty. Someone has to die. I deserve to. But that’s where the most amazing rescue in history comes in.
Jesus is God, coming to rescue you and me. In God’s words, “He has rescued us” and He “purchased our freedom and forgave our sins” (Colossians 1:13). But it cost Jesus His life to save ours. They didn’t take Jesus’ life on the cross. He gave it. It’s because He loves us with a love that is willing to give up everything to get us back. I did the sinning - but Jesus did the dying. “He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24).
My rescue came the day I grabbed Jesus like He was my only hope. And that’s what it means to “believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). The Bible tells me that the day I acknowledged the danger I was in and trusted Jesus as my Rescuer, my sins were forgiven and I traded my hell for His heaven. It’s what He wants to do for you, too. If you’ll put your life in His hands. It’s as simple – and as serious – as telling Him with all your heart, “Jesus, I’m Yours.”
The passengers of 1549 experienced what they’re calling a “miracle on the Hudson.” Your rescue miracle can happen right where you are as you read this. Jesus is reaching for you. Just grab His hand.