“I always found these stories of sacrifice very emotionally affecting. I came away from them resolving to live more courageously and unselfishly. I never did follow through on my resolutions, however. The stories moved my emotions and pricked my conscience, but my heart’s basic patterns stayed intact. I was still driving by a need to prove myself to others, to win approval acclaim, to control what people thought of me. As long as these fears and needs had such power over me, my intentions to change could not go very far.
The gospel, however, is not just a moving fictional story about someone else. It is a true story about us. We are actually in it. We are those delinquent boys, and to save us Jesus gave up something infinitely greater than human celebrity. Also, Jesus has come to us in our prison and despite out unwillingness to be saved has taken our place. The seamstress was moved by a sacrifice that wasn’t for her. How much more can we be empowered by the discovery that Jesus has given himself for us, has changed places with us?
I can only say that observing these stories from the outside stirred me, but when I realized I was actually inside Jesus’ story (and he inside mine) it changed me. The fear and pride that captured my heart was finally dislodged. The fact that Jesus had to die for me humbled me out of my pride. The fact the Jesus as glad to die for me assured me out of my fear.”
Timothy Keller. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Dutton Adult, 2008. 200.