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On November 7th, 1907, a boxcar containing dynamite caught fire in the village of Nacozari in Sonora, Mexico. When the flames reached the dynamite, the blast was felt 16 kilometers (10 miles) away. That would be like standing in the parking lot of the St. Albert Wal-Mart and feeling a blast that went off in Morinville!

The whole town of Nacozari should have been blown into the air like dandelion seeds scattered by a single, careless puff. It wasn't, however, thanks to the railroad engineer, Jesús García. When he noticed that the boxcar had caught fire, he quickly drove the car away from the town where it exploded harmlessly--harmlessly for the people of Nacozari, that is, but not harmlessly for Jesús. Jesús himself died in the blast. He gave his life to save the lives of many. Why did he do it? We can't ask him of course but I'm sure he would have said something like, "It was my job."

There is, of course, another Jesús who gave his life in a daring rescue. On Good Friday, Jesus of Nazareth hitched the world's sins to himself and pulled them up on the cross where God's fury exploded with a deafening silence that can still be heard 2,000 years later. Why did Jesus do it? Step close and press your eye to the keyhole of the cross and you'll see why he did it because you'll be looking into God's love. God's amazing love. Today we'll see that God's love is amazing because it's for you, and it's forever.

The train engineer, Jesús García, is hailed a hero because he saved a town of hard working people, of boys and girls, and of grandpas and grandmas. But what if he had driven a burning boxcar of TNT away from the mansion of a drug lord? Would newspaper headlines have read, "Jesús García Demonstrates Love By Dying For Drug Lords!"? More likely they would call him a fool for sacrificing his life for the sake of scum. Why not let the boxcar explode and take the drug lord and all his cronies with him?

Consider then what the Apostle Paul writes about the rescue Jesus pulled off. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).

The citizens of Nacozari were so thankful to Jesús García for saving them that they renamed their town after him. Jerusalem, however, was not renamed Jesusville in honor of the Savior's sacrifice on Good Friday. But you, dear listener, have been renamed. We were once God's enemies but thanks to Jesus are now part of God's family. This change is not just honorary. You really have peace with God.

(From a sermon by Daniel Habben, God's Love is Amazing, 7/16/2011)

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