“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
In July of 2009, Mike Grady, an accountant from Maitland, Florida was on vacation with his wife Lisa and their two sons – Austin and Tyler. They were hiking in the mountains near Highlands, North Carolina as Mike watched 12-year-old Austin playing in the water of the Cullasaja River.
Suddenly, Austin was caught up in the river’s current and his foot became wedged beneath a rock. Austin tried and tried but could not pull his foot free. Without hesitation, his father Mike plunged into the icy river to pull his son free but Austin’s foot wouldn’t budge. Water was pouring over them at an estimated 17,000 gallons a minute. Mike positioned himself upstream from his son in an attempt to shield Austin and take the brunt of the water’s force. The water was so powerful that it tore Mike’s shirt clean off of his back. Mike held his son’s head above water for over an hour as fellow vacationers tried their hardest to pull Austin free.
Finally, Mike was able to slip an old rope someone had found under Austin’s arms. Cesar Gonzalez and Blake Roberts were both vacationing nearby. They grabbed the rope from Mike’s hands and pulled with all their might. At the same time Mike heaved his son upward with what onlookers described as “Herculean ability” and Austin slid free.
The father had lifted his son to safety but now he himself was pinned down in the river. Paramedics and firefighters worked and worked to pull Mike free. The river’s icy water pounded against Mike’s head and back, back-splashing into his face. Rescue workers could not reach Mikes’ head to hold it out of the spray and above the shoulder-deep water. Mike was completely exhausted. He passed out and then died within moments. Mike gave his life to save his son’s.
This is a great picture of the love of God, our Father, shown to us in Christ. John 3 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Each one of us has been swept away in the deadly current of our sins. We are caught in sin’s grip with no way to free ourselves. God is holy and cannot turn a blind eye to our sin. Justice must be served. Our sin must be punished. God did the unthinkable.
God sent his Son to bear the penalty and punishment that our sins deserved. On the cross, Christ took our sin upon himself. God poured out the river of his wrath upon His one and only Son that we might be free and have life in Him. “Amazing love! How can it be, that thou my God, shouldst die for me?”