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When someone dies, we remember—we remember all the stories that filled their life. Last week a man named Joseph Bau died. It’s a name you probably don’t know, but a story worth hearing.

Joseph Bau was born on June 18, 1920, in Krakow, Poland. He became a young man just in time to experience the German invasion of Poland. He was one of three boys in a prosperous middle-class family that lived in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods. Joseph had always been good at art, and at the age of 18, he enrolled in the University of Plastic Arts at Krakow.

But the war interrupted his studies. His family was forced to move to the Jewish Ghetto, and then later to the Plaschow concentration camp. Because of Joseph’s partial education in Art before the war, and because of his talent for Gothic lettering, the Nazis employed him in producing maps and signs for the camp.

Joseph’s job also enabled him to save more than 400 Jews by forging false documents and identity papers that secured their release from the camp. When asked after the war, why he did not forge documents for himself, he replied, “Then who would have done it for the other Jews?”

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, we hear a similar question, “He saved others; He cannot save himself?” And Jesus answers, “What shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. “

With the death of Joseph Bau, we remember a story that saved hundreds of Jews from death. With this bread and this cup, we remember the sacrifice of Jesus—a story that saves every one who believes from spiritual death.

SOURCE: SermonCentral Staff. Citations: John 12:27. Mark 15:31. ‘Joseph Bau’ (07/06/2002).

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