A few years ago, the film “Dante’s Peak” portrayed the account of a volcano, named Dante’s Peak, which came to life and threatened the small town of the same name located at the foot of a volcano.
A meteorologist, Harry Dalton (played by Pierce Brosnan), had come to the town, attempting to warn the people of the peril they are in. Working with the mayor, Rachel (played by Linda Hamilton), and her two kids, Lauren and Graham, Harry implores the townspeople to flee for safety.
When the mountain erupts, everyone tries to evacuate, causing chaos. Harry and Rachel return to the house to gather the kids and escape, but when they arrive, there is a note waiting for them.
Although the kids are too young to drive, they had sensed the impending danger, commandeered a truck and gone up the mountain to rescue their grandma, Ruth, who up to that point stubbornly refused to leave her home.
Harry and Rachel chase after the kids, finally arriving at grandma’s house amidst the falling ash. But now the road is washed out behind them, and they are trapped. Suddenly a wall of lava bursts through the wall of the house.
They head for the lake and jump into a metal boat with a small outboard motor. As they move across the lake, they notice that dead fish cover the lake’s surface.
Harry realizes what is happening. “Don’t touch the water!” Harry orders. The volcano has turned the water to acid, and it soon begins bubbling up through the boat’s bottom.
As they near the shore, the engine sputters to a stop; the acid has completely eaten away the blades.
The group feels hopeless; the boat is sinking fast. Graham cries out, “We’re not going to make it!”
Suddenly, Grandma Ruth leaps out of the boat into the water. The water is shallow enough that she is able to touch the bottom. Screaming in pain, she gives the boat a final shove toward shore.
The boat reaches the shore safely, and the family jumps to dry ground. Grandma Ruth wades onto dry land and collapses.
Harry holds her in his arms as the family surrounds her with love and concern. Grandma’s life slowly slips away.
Grandma sacrificed her own life so that the lives of her family might be saved. In the same way, because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
In August 2003, New York City’s Church of the Holy Cross was broken into twice. First, a metal money box next to a votive candle rack was stolen. Three weeks later vandals got away with something far more valuable: a statue of Christ. The thieves unbolted the 4-foot long, 200-pound plaster Jesus from a meditation area, but they left the wooden cross on the wall.
As reported in the New York Times, David St. James, 49, a caretaker who helps maintain the sacristy of the church, was amazed that someone would try to take Jesus without also taking his cross. “They just decided, ‘We’re going to leave the cross and take Jesus,’” he said. “We don’t know why they took just him. We figure if you want the whole crucifix, you take the whole crucifix.”
That story so aptly describes the way the world today is looking at Christianity. People will try to incorporate Jesus into anything and everything they do, so long as they don’t have to deal with the cross.
They will even make powerful and exciting adventure films like Dante’s Peak, films that typify Christ’s work on the cross, but will not acknowledge Him as Savior.
But, my friends, you cannot have the Savior without the symbol of His salvation. He died so that you and I might live!
And all God asks of you is that you simply trust Him! Take Jesus – cross and all!
Oh, and don’t forget that he rose again three days later, just to prove that for those who place their trust in Him the final victory is definitely a sure thing!
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.