Right Arm

What Would You Give For It?

Ed, my neighbor next door, has been known to say, “I’d give my right arm for it.” He said it the other day and I cautioned him about saying it in case it came true. I told him I had just read an article where that very thing happened.

Ed gets frustrated with me when I tell him what I have read. I told him about the story I had read anyway. A twenty-two year old burglar in New York gave his right arm for a television he tried to steal. He and two friends broke a store window in which the television was on display. As the young burglar reached through the broken window to grab the television, the top part of the broken plate glass window fell on his right arm, almost severing it. Although he was rushed to the hospital, his arm had to be amputated above the elbow.

I asked Ed if he could guess what was tattooed on the burglar’s left arm. Ed grumbled that it maybe said, “Born to steal.” He refused to talk about the story. Even the mention of a cut or bleeding makes him uneasy. He changed the subject by saying that there is so much snow in his yard; his grandchildren would need snow shovels for an Easter egg hunt this year.

I agreed that there is a lot of snow and folks fear that the snow melt could cause flooding. I asked Ed if he realized that fear was a force in the first Easter. Before he could answer, I explained what I meant. The enemies of Jesus were jealous of his popularity and his fame for raising Lazarus from the dead. The religious leaders feared losing their position and their nation if the people continued to turn to Jesus and away from their authority. They refused to believe that Jesus came from heaven to save all sinners.

With the help of Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ enemies arrested him, put him on trial and found him guilty of saying that he was God. They pressured Pontius Pilate to impose the death sentence of crucifixion on him. When Jesus died on the cross, and was buried and sealed in a tomb, it seemed that his enemies were done with him. Yet, no one can get rid of God or his love for all. The grave could not hold Jesus, for God is a living, active God.

The tattooed saying on the burglar’s left arm was not “born to steal,” but “born to lose.” Born to lose was what Jesus came to earth to do. He was willing to lose his whole life. He first fulfilled the law for us because we cannot be sinless. Then, he willingly sacrificed himself on the cross, taking upon himself the punishment for our sins. The Bible confirms, “Jesus was raised on the third day. He appeared to Peter, and to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time. Then He appeared to James, to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me (Paul).” Jesus calls us from fear to trust in his words “Because I live, you also will live.”

 

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Raymond Maher
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