Preserve Life

Josh WannerDevotions

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself.

Matthew 14:13

John the Baptizer was just beheaded by King Herod. This was such an unjust and tragic end of human life. We see that this has had a deep impact on Jesus as well. The verse above shows us that Jesus went off alone, most likely to mourn. Already since John’s arrest, Jesus has been busy pick up the task where John left off (Matthew 4 – Gospel reading for this Sunday, January 22), thus His earthly ministry begins.

Jesus is grieving the death of John. We see Jesus weeping at the tomb of His dear friend, Lazarus (John 11). Why? It is because life wasn’t to end in such a way. In fact, death wasn’t even factored into Creation. We were to be born and live forever in Paradise on this earth. It wasn’t until God’s Creation, our world and us, was upended and broken because of sin, that death enters into the picture. Jesus knows this. It’s why He mourns and weeps. It’s why we mourn and weep over the death of a loved one.

It’s why we read that Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:

1The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;[
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;[b]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn.

Jesus came to rescue all of us from this. He came to recreate and preserve human life.

And by giving us life and value, Jesus empowers us to desire to also preserve human life. Life that, in Genesis 1, is created in God’s image, that is also recreated, restored in His image because of Jesus.

This new life we have in Him allows us to see that along with the prohibition to taking a human life as we see in the Fifth Commandment, there is an understanding of what to do! And that is looking to care and preserve life. To protect life from conception to natural death.

As we are to stand up and protect the life of the unborn, we also protect the lives of others. Where there is injustice done by the hands of those in public office who take the lives of others (remember John the Baptist was beheaded unjustly by an evil king), we seek to hold those in office accountable for their actions. We call for changes in policy that fosters the proper care of human life as God’s image bearers. And when life comes to a natural end, when we’ve completed life on this side of Heaven’s door, we treat ethically and with dignity until God calls that individual home.

Jesus values life. He stood up to defend life. And in His death, He purchased our life. In His resurrection, He lives to restore our lives, holding us at a great value as His image bearers. May we seek to value and take care of life.