They lived in a village situated near a large river. A contagious disease was ravaging the population and the entire tribe was in need of immediate medical attention. People were literally dying daily.
The good news is that a hospital was not too far away. The bad news is that hospital was across the river. And the Indians would not cross the river because they believed it was inhabited by evil spirits. They believed that to enter it would mean certain death, as they had seen many go into those waters and not come out.
The missionary explained to them how he had crossed the river, and yet was unharmed. But they were not impressed in the slightest. He then took them to the bank of the river and knelt down, placing his hand in the water. They still wouldn’t go in.
Next, he walked into the water up to his waist and proceeded to splash water all over his face. It still did not matter. The villagers were still afraid to enter the river.
Finally, the missionary turned and plunged down into the river. The villagers feared that he had inevitable succumbed to the evil spirits. However, in a moment or two, he emerged on the other bank of the river. He had swum underneath to the other side.
There, standing up, he raised a triumphant fist into the air. He had entered the water and escaped. Indeed, he had triumphed over the river. It was then that the Indians broke into a cheer and gladly followed him across.
Is not that exactly what Jesus did on Good Friday? He entered the river of death on an old rugged cross. Then, three days later, early on Easter Sunday morning, He came out triumphantly on the other side!
And He did that for one reason: so that we might no longer fear death, but find eternal life in Him. Little wonder, then, that the Apostle Paul was moved to proclaim the following in his first New Testament letter to the Christians at Corinth (15:54-57):
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
SOURCE: Paraphrased from Max Lucado’s book, Six Hours One Friday: Anchoring to the Cross, (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, 1999), pp.126-127.