"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:28) Jesus gave His life as a ransom for us. He voluntarily allowed Himself to be taken captive and laid down His life in order to save us from eternal doom.
On January 13, 1982, one of the worst snowstorms hit Washington, D.C. in decades. It caused all traffic to halt and created a large traffic jam on the Arland D. Williams Memorial Bridge. This is the bridge that spans the Potomac River. The heavy snowfall closed the Washington National Airport three-quarters of a mile away. Among the affected was Air Florida flight 90, comprised o 74 passengers (including three infants) bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was about an hour and forty-five minute delay and finally the plane took off at 3:59 p.m. The jetliner headed north and made a small right turn. The path of Air Florida Flight 90 presumed a 700-foot clearance over the bridge. At 4:01 p.m., the flight was unable to stay airborne, with the nose raised and the tail down, it crashed into the bridge. The aircraft struck seven occupied vehicles, sheared one top off another automobile and crushed four other cars. The impact ripped out 180 feet of railing before plunging into the icy water that was about 30 feet deep. The plane vanished under the water except for a small tail section, which had separated from the body of the aircraft and afloat. Motorists were injured and killed and all but six of the passengers on the plane were dead. Five passengers and one flight attendant climbed from beneath the icy waters on to the wreckage of the tail section.
Rescue was made by the crew of the National Park Service helicopter. They lowered a line with a ring on it to one gentleman in his 50's. Instead of seizing the lifeline himself, he passed it to another survivor. He did this four more times as the helicopter would return. On the sixth return, the crew noticed that the man was gone. His name was Arland D. Williams, Jr. and he perished beneath the icy waters. Today, the bridge is named after him which used to be called the "14th Street Bridge". Arland D. Williams, Jr. gave up himself for complete strangers to live!
We read of such and it amazes us and sometimes shakes us how someone could do this. There are war stories of heroic efforts, saving lives. We are touched by them. But how little people consider the debt paid by Jesus Christ. He didn't just die...He died our death. He knew what lay ahead and was going to experience separation from God, something that He had never known. The scourgings, the beatings, the mockings and nails were all meant for us but He gave Himself as a ransom so we could live. The eternal consequences that we faced were placed on Him. He took our place and God showed all the world His judgment on sin through His Son. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8) In all this, many just walk on by, little care or concern, not realizing that without Christ man will pay for their own sins and it will be a horrible, horrible fate. We are moved by stories of man and rightly so, but we should be moved by Jesus because He rescued us from eternal doom which should make Him the real hero in our lives!