When John Ernest opened fire at the Chabad of Poway (CA) Synagogue Saturday morning, April 27, 2019, Lori Kaye, “jumped between the gunman and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, sacrificing her own life to save the spiritual leader,” according to CNN.
As Rabbi Goldstein reported on NBC’s “Today” show, “I was face-to-face with this murderer, terrorist, who was holding a rifle and looking straight at me. That’s when he fired, blowing off my right index finger and severely injuring my left index finger.” Goldstein, who had just turned away from a conversation he’d had with Lori, heard a loud bang, turned to see her prostrate on the floor, her husband slumped beside her. A medical doctor, he had come to her aid. When he realized who she was, he fainted.
This year’s Passover celebration, scheduled to be held April 8 through April 16, dates back to the days of the New Testament. Originally slated to memorialize Israel’s exodus from Egypt, Jesus’ Passover in AD 33 marked the final Passover He was to celebrate with His disciples.
Only a few days earlier, the Jewish Sanhedrin, the ruling council of men who had religious, civil and criminal jurisdiction over the people of Israel, met to decide what to do with a troublesome rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth. The meeting was a farce, for they all knew what they were going to do. It only remained for them to justify their actions. And Caiaphas, the High Priest, gave them that. Ostensibly to protect against an insurrection led by Jesus and his followers, he stated that “it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
And so, in the words of James S. Steward, as quoted by Ravi Zacharias,
“They nailed Him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to His feet. They gave Him a cross, not guessing that He would make it a throne. They flung Him outside the gates of the universe, to let the King come in. They thought to root out His doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hears of men the very name they intended to destroy. They thought they had God with His back to the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down. He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
Indeed, three days later something happened that changed the course of history, verified Jesus’ deity, and convinced Jesus enemies they had made a colossal mistake. Eyewitness reports confirmed: Jesus had risen from the dead. He had not given his life in vain. “If in this life only we have hope,” reported the Apostle Paul, “we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead.” Eternal life was finally available to all.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Words cannot convey our gratitude for the men and women who, like Lori, have willingly given their lives to protect us from harm and danger.
And that is the way I feel about Jesus. His sacrifice, voluntarily given on our behalf, ensures that, if we have accepted Him as the Lord of our lives, our eternal existence is guaranteed. Thank God for Jesus Christ!
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