As you are going home today, you see a house on fire. The flames are raging and the smoke is ascending up in one black column to Heaven. Crowds gather in the street and you are told there is a man in the upper chamber who must be burnt to death. No one can save him. You say, “Why that is my enemy’s house.” And you see him at the window. It is your own enemy—the very man. He is about to be burnt. Full of loving kindness, you say, “I will save that man if I can.” He sees you approach the house. He puts his head from the window and curses you. “An everlasting blast upon you!” he says, “I would rather perish than that you should save me.”
Do you imagine yourself then, dashing through the smoke and climbing the blazing staircase to save him? And can you conceive that when you get near him he struggles with you and tries to roll you in the flames? Can you conceive your love to be so potent, that you can perish in the flames rather than leave him to be burned? You say, “I could not do it. It is above flesh and blood to do it.”
But Jesus did it. We hated Him, we despised Him and, when He came to save us, we rejected Him. When His Holy Spirit comes into our hearts to strive with us, we resist Him. But He will save us. No, He Himself braved the fire that He might snatch us as brands from eternal burning. The joy of Jesus was the joy of saving sinners. The great motive, then, with Christ, in enduring all this, was that He might save us.