After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the pastor stood up, walked over to the pulpit and briefly introduced a guest minister. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was his dearest childhood friends, and he wanted his friend to share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service. The elderly man stepped to the pulpit and began to speak.
A Father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific coast one day, when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high that, even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued with his story,
Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life—which boy would he throw the life line? He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, but He also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the Father yelled out, I love you, son! He threw out the life line to his son’s friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swell into the black of the night. His body was never covered.
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth.
The Father knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore he sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take a hold of the life line He is throwing out to you in this service.
With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit, delivered a brief sermon, and gave an invitation at the end. When no one responded to the invitation, the pastor closed the service with prayer.
After the service, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side, That was a nice story, politely stated one of the boys, but I don’t think it was very realistic for a Father to give up his only son’s life hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.
Well, you’ve got a point there, the old man replied. Glancing down at his worn Bible, a big smile broadened his narrow fact—he once again looked up at the boys and said, It sure isn’t realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see—I was that Father and your pastor is my son’s friend.
This was said to be a true story.