Last week I taught another Rescue Diver class. My background as a sheriff’s department dive team member, a national scuba training agency director, and a forensic dive accident investigator serve me well in teaching a very robust Rescue Diver course. During the class orientation I ask students why they want to become rescue certified. The most prominent response is, “to know how to help others in diving emergencies”. However, it is interesting to see students’ responses to the very first lesson of why most diving accidents occur: poor judgment. As we unpack scenario after scenario, poor judgment on behalf of the injured diver becomes obvious. Sometimes my students’ passion for helping others becomes tainted knowing that the accidents could have been prevented if the injured divers had used common sense or followed the rules.
Sometimes it’s hard for the rescuer to justify going to great measures to save someone who used poor judgment and got themselves into trouble. Yet, the best rescuers – EMT’s, police, fire rescue personnel, nurses and doctors – do not focus on the poor judgment of the victim/patient, they focus on the life-saving measures needed to save that person’s life. In scripture we see a rescuer who is greater than all rescuers; one who does not cast judgment on the poor choices people made, but focuses on saving their lives by giving eternal life. That rescuer is Jesus Christ.
In the Bible the words “rescue” and “deliverance” abound. The meta-narrative of the Bible is one of redemption. As John Piper puts it, Adam (man) falls in sin and death, yet Christ restores with obedience and life. And in between Genesis and Revelation we see time and time again, God delivering and rescuing both His obedient servants as well as His Gentiles – both of whom are sinful, fallen people. Stories such as Daniel being rescued from eminent death in the lion’s den are alongside stories where God rescues the Gentile sinner. Rahab, the harlot, is rescued as Jericho is completely destroyed. Why would a prostitute be rescued while all other inhabitants perished? “By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient, having received the spies with peace.” (Hebrews 11:31)
The deliverance continues in the New Testament as Jesus’ ministry rescues those in physical need: “the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good tidings preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5) And, He rescues those in need of salvation such as the adulterous Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. (John 4:1-42) In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray “And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13)
The great rescue is the one in which our Lord saves us. We are dead in our trespasses, but for the Grace of God, in His sacrifice of His Son, we are given a new life. It does not matter what “poor judgments” we have made to become broken and injured, Christ still offers His caring and loving rescue to those who, by Faith, believe in Him. That is our great rescue.