The Upward Look by Jon Forrest

It was February 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism.

Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts.

Names were called. A Polish Jew Frandishek Gasovnachek was called. He cried, "Wait, I have a wife and children!" Kolbe stepped forward and said, "I will take his place." Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14.

This story was chronicled on an NBC news special several years ago. Gasovnachek, age 82 by this time, was shown telling this story while tears streamed down his cheeks. A mobile camera followed him around his little white house to a marble monument carefully tended with flowers. The inscription read:


Every day Gasovnachek lived since 1941, he lived with the knowledge, "I live because someone died for me." Every year on August 14 he travels to Auschwitz in memory of Kolbe.
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Source: Victor Knowles, Peace on Earth Ministries. Adapted from Crossroads Family Circle.

Scripture teaches that God despises sin (rebellion) in people so much that there must be the price of death paid for every sin committed. It also teaches that every person who ever lived, with the exception of one, has sinned, not just once, but multitudes upon multitudes of times. Each of us deserves punishment by death in a horrible place called Hades, or Hell. The “lake of fire” mentioned in Revelation 20:14-15 is the second death promised for everyone whose name is not written in the book of life. The book of life would not include my name, your name or any name if it weren’t for a plan God designed to grant us the gift of mercy. His plan was to send His only Son to die in our place. Because Jesus (His Son) was without sin, He did not deserve punishment of death. That is why only He was able to suffer death in our place on that old cruel, rugged cross.

That is why we owe Him our very lives, surrendered fully to His will. That is why every single day of our lives should be in celebration and memorial to what He did for us. HE DIED IN MY PLACE!

This Sunday we get to celebrate another part of that plan. We get to rejoice that when the Son of God died in our place, he did not stay in his grave. Three days later he rose back to life, victorious over sin and death. His resurrection means that we too will live with him in heaven for all eternity. I look forward to presenting a message titled, Resurrection Power and You
 based on Philippians 3:10-11. Join us for this special Easter (Resurrection) celebration.

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