Sermon Illustrations

Captain Mitsuo Fuchida was the commander of the squadron that bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After the war he became a hero in Japan. Yet he felt his life was empty. Then he heard the amazing story of one of the American pilots, Jacob DeShazer, who had been captured and put in prison in Japan. At first he was a very intractable prisoner, but someone gave him a New Testament and, reading it, his whole life was changed. Fuchida heard about that change in the life of DeShazer, and Fuchida himself began to read the New Testament. When he came to the story of the crucifixion, he was deeply moved by the prayer that broke from the lips of Jesus as he hung upon the cross with his torturers and tormentors gathered about him.“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" {Luke 23:34}His own heart broke. He could not understand how anyone could pray for his enemies and ask for them to be forgiven. In that moment he opened his heart to Christ, and ultimately became a Christian evangelist. For some years he traveled throughout this country, speaking especially to young people about the grace that could come into a life through One who was "numbered with the transgressors . . . and made intercession for them."