Life On The Line

March 5, 2020
Volume 24, Number 8

As we focus on the coronavirus, some are reminding us of similar events in the recent past. One such event was the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus that broke out in southern China in 2002. The story of Dr. Joanna Tse emerges from that dark time as a bright light for others to consider.

Dr. Tse, a native of China who had adopted the Christian faith, volunteered her services to help with SARS patients. Her training in pulmonology was desperately needed, and so she stepped up. At the age of 35 she had already suffered the loss of her husband, also a doctor, the year before from leukemia.

In trying to resuscitate a SARS patient through intubation, Dr. Tse exposed herself to infected droplets. She was hospitalized on April 3 of 2003 after testing positive to SARS, and by May 13 was dead. She knew the risks of helping those infected by the deadly virus, but chose to put her life on the line to help them.

Could she have been motivated by the example of another who put His life on the line?

Jesus described why He came to earth while visiting with Zacchaeus in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “Lost” refers to the condition we brought upon ourselves by committing sin (see Romans 6:23). It is as if we willingly injected active cancer cells into our bloodstream; we would have only ourselves to blame.

Jesus, however, could not watch us march off to our doom without doing His part to rescue us. Peter described the action necessary to do that: “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus was guilty of no sins (see Hebrews 4:15). But He exposed Himself to our sins in order to save us.

Isaiah 53:5 powerfully tells what Jesus did for us: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

An old hymn proclaims this amazing idea: “Gone is all my debt of sin, a great change is bro’t within, and to live I now begin, risen from the fall. Yet the debt I did not pay; someone died for me one day, sweeping all the debt away, Jesus paid it all” (“Jesus Paid It All”, words by M.S. Shaffer, 1917).

Dr. Tse knew she was taking a chance with her life by volunteering for that assignment. For Jesus it was more than a chance – it was a certainty. He put His life on the line for you and me. How can we repay Him for that love? 2 Corinthians 5:14,15 tells how.

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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