Committed for Eternity
The BBC recently reported the nightmarish tale of a Syrian sailor who became trapped aboard an abandoned ship for four years. Mohammed Aisha, joined the crew of the 4,000-ton cargo ship MV Aman on May 5, 2017. But within two months the ship became detained at the Egyptian port of Adabiya. According to the port authority, the ship’s safety equipment and classification certificates were expired. It was not permitted to leave port nor were any of its crew allowed to leave.
However, the ship’s owners, Tylos Shipping and Marine Services were either unwilling or unable to resolve the matter. They would not even purchase fuel to power the ship’s engines. So the ship soon lost power, leaving the crew in darkness and unable to communicate with the outside world. And its food supply was dwindling.
The ship’s captain managed to escape – abandoning the crew that served him. But the port authority would not allow anyone else to leave until the remaining senior officer agreed to sign a document, taking responsibility for the ship. They parked the MV Aman out in the middle of the harbor and moored it there.
In the absence of the captain, the next senior officer was Mohammed Aisha. So, for the sake of the trapped crew, he signed the document in July 2017. Once transportation was arranged, the crew departed, leaving Aisha alone on the ship.
And there he would remain for the next four years. Cut off from his family and the rest of humanity, Aisha wavered between deep loneliness and abject despair. Finally, in August 2018, Mohammed received some outside news – but only that his mother had died. This, Mohammed said, was the darkest moment his life. And by the summer of 2019 he was despondent and his health was declining. And all the time his imprisonment dragged on, Mohammed was receiving no compensation for his sacrifices. His commitment to the ship was purely out of concern for the welfare of his departed crew and a sense of obligation to the ship he now commanded.
Then, in March 2020, a blessing in disguise came to his dreary world. A fierce winter storm broke the MV Aman from its moorings and drove it aground just a few hundred yards from the shore. This allowed Mohammed to swim ashore for fresh water and supplies. And finally, an advocacy group for ship’s crews in Mohammed’s predicament secured his release. On April 22, 2021, Mohammed flew home be reunited with his family. Yet he still has plans of returning to sea – once he’s refreshed again by the love of his family.
Mohammed’s story brought something to mind. Two thousand years ago the whole of humanity was in deep legal trouble with the Court of Heaven. Their staggering debt towered to the heavens. Only judgment and destruction awaited them.
But then something unimaginable happened. The Almighty, the offended party, came into this world to ransom it. But His appearance among us was no short-term excursion to see how dreadful things were down here, assess the situation, and then escape back to heaven. No. Jesus “signed-up” as one of the crew for the long haul. As Mohammed Aisha chained himself to that abandoned ship, Jesus chained Himself to us – forever. By His Incarnation Jesus eternally linked Himself with fallen humanity, to share in its pain, deprivation, and judgment. And for the next 33 years Jesus suffered all the misery and temptations which life and the devil could hurl at Him. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Jesus took on humanity’s staggering debt and suffered the full intensity of its damnation upon the cross.
Therefore, we are told, the Father has highly exalted Jesus in heaven. He is so exalted that, at the name of Jesus everything in heaven, earth, and hell will declare that He is LORD (Philippians 2:5-11).
But even in His exaltation Jesus has never discarded His humanity – nor will He ever do so. He will always remain “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Thus, Jesus will forever be part of the human family He redeemed. He’ll eternally bear the nail-prints in His hands and feet, the spear-mark in His side, and the thorn-scars about His crown. They’ll be the eternal proof of the torment and violent death He endured for us. Paul the apostle assured us that, in Jesus, the fullness of Deity will forever dwell in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). And though His church will be disowned, persecuted, and given up for dead by this world, Jesus is totally committed to its preservation, sanctification, and eternal salvation. Jesus will never jump-ship on us. He’s signed-on for eternity.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I praise You for all that You have done for me. May I never lose sight of Your agony and sacrifice on my behalf. Open my eyes each day to see deeper and deeper into the ocean of Your love and suffering for me. In Your most holy name, Amen.
(Information from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-56842506)