About a year and half ago in New York City a two-year-old girl and her family were touring a ship that was docked along the banks of the East River. Suddenly the two-year old girl slipped, and fell 20 feet into the frigid water. The dad without any hesitation ran down the boarding dock, shed his coat and dove into the river after her. He held on tightly to his little girl to keep her out of the water until more help arrived.

That is love.

I cannot imagine being in that situation, but I’d like to think I’d do the same thing.

Now think about that for a minute, that picture of the dad jumping into the water.

That is what Christ did for us. We’re drowning in a world marred by sin; in fact we are born with a sinful nature, a nature that naturally rejects the light of God. (John 3:19)

All we know how to do is sin.

But Christ dove into the water to save us. (John 3:16-17)

And it is this hope that we can cling to as Christians

Christ loves us, he showed this by laying down his life for us as an offering to God on our behalf, and if he hadn’t done this the picture would look much different. He had to do this. (Hebrews 9:22)

Think back to the East River in New York City…Imagine for a minute that after the toddler fell into the water the dad acting quickly…

Threw down a rope…

Or threw out a life-preserver…

Or just extended his hand to her…

The problem is it’s a toddler we’re talking about. The toddler has no idea how to use those things and while those devices can be used to save a life, that doesn’t work for someone who doesn’t know how to use them.

What kind of parent would only show their hand to a drowning child and then do nothing more unless the child reached out? A loving parent would jump in at the risk of his life to make CERTAIN their child did not drown. How much more so with Christ?

Some people hold the point of view that Christ dove in the water to “relate” to us.

Think about that …

After the toddler falls into the water the father dives in and says “So this is what it’s like in the water. See how much I love you I’m in the water too.”

But that’s not what Christ dove into the water. Christ dove in the water to do the thing that we could not do for ourselves. (Galatians 2:20-21)

Without the father diving into the frigid water and grabbing hold of the child the toddler would drown.

That is what Christ does for us.

He grabs hold of us and pulls us up out of the water.

He saves us from death because we are helpless to save ourselves.

He thought nothing of himself and dove in after us.

That is love.

Previously published April 22, 2011 on my blog.

One thought on “Drowning

  1. Now imagine a Father has three children they all fall in the frigid water and he is capable of saving all three, but chooses instead to let two of them drown. What of that Father?

    I hope the comments get rolling on this post because it is a good spring board to speak of the scope of the atonement, and who Christ died for. I confess that I stand more with Luther in this than I do with Calvin. I think Arminius is way off as well b/c his ‘Father’ is the life preserver throwing Father. But Calvin’s Father is capable yanking out the whole Family but only pulls out the chosen children. Luther’s Father swims up to each of the children with the intent of pulling them out yet allows them to reject the offer. In other words, if they get out it will be entirely of His doing, and by his choosing, yet if they drown it is entirely their own fault.

    Thoughts. Correctly me if I misapplied Arminius, Calvin, or Luther to this metaphor.

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