Twenty-six years ago, my attention was arrested as I read the headlines in our local newspaper. There, in large bold letters, were the words, “MAN’S LONGEST RESCUE MISSION.”
It called it the most daring exploit of modern times.
It was describing the action of Israeli commandos who, in July 1976, flew over 2300 miles into the heart of Africa and rescued 104 hostages, mostly Israelis, who were being held captive at Entebbe in Uganda. As I read, I thought of the plight of these innocent, helpless people, being held as pawns in a political game. Then I thought of the courage of the commandos as they traveled that long distance in three giant Hercules transport planes, loaded with armored vehicles, at times skimming just a few hundred feet above the ground to avoid radar detection. It was indeed a daring and dangerous exploit! In the dead of night, the commandos caught the terrorists by surprise, and, in less than an hour, achieved the seemingly impossible – they rescued the hostages and were back in the air on their way home again.
As I read the story that morning, my mind kept going back to the words of the headline, “Man’s longest rescue mission,” and I began to think of another, much longer, more vital rescue mission, “God’s rescue mission.” “The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (I John 4:14). He sent His Son into the world to rescue and save sinners. What a journey it was for the Lord Jesus! What great issues were at stake! How many were in need of salvation! The Bible tells us, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).
Like the hostages, there is nothing any of us can do to save ourselves. We are all helpless, lost sinners, but Christ paid the debt of sin when He died on the cross “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
In the above story, the leader of this mission, Colonel Netanyahu, was hit in the back by a Ugandan bullet and died. Those hostages could each say, “He died for me.” What about the death of Christ? Why did He die? Those who accept that they are lost sinners and trust Christ as their Savior can truly say “He died for me.” “The Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Tragically, although all the hostages held at the Entebbe airport were saved, one woman missed the rescue. She had become ill the day before and had been taken to the hospital. When the others were saved, she was left behind and faced a violent death.
Is this “Savior of the World” your personal Savior or will you miss the great blessing of being rescued and saved by Him? He will save you today if you will trust Him. “What must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30, 31).