But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,…
A little above Niagara Falls there is a cluster of islets. The most considerable of these is called Goat Island, and between Goat Island and the shore there is a stream of some breadth, and of exceeding swiftness, crossed by a little wooden bridge. One day a man was painting that bridge, and while thus engaged he happened to miss his footing and slip into the rapids, and was carried down with terrible swiftness. Though he struggled hard to make for the shore, his struggles were all in vain; the current was far too strong for him. Down, down he went, and it seemed as if in a few moments he would take the fearful leap into the unbottomed abyss. But just as it appeared that all hope was gone, he was intercepted by a little islet of rock not very far from the edge of the precipice — you would scarcely have noticed it if you were looking casually on the stream, it was so small; it attracted attention only by the ripples the water made about it. That little islet happened to lie right in his way; it intercepted his progress, and gave him foothold and handhold for a time. There he clung, and cried out for assistance. By and by a crowd gathered on the shore, and they began to devise all sorts of means to save him. They tried one thing after another, and plan after plan failed, until at last one brave man got the idea of having a rope put round his waist; and, getting into the river at just about the place where the man entered the water, so managed to angle across the stream, and yet be carried down it, that he reached the little islet of rock, and grasped the man there with all the strength he had left. And now, firmly clasped in each other's embrace they set out back again on their perilous journey, and safely reached the shore. By this time a great crowd had gathered, and you may imagine the ringing cheer which went up from that large company when the two men came safely back. Take this story as an illustration of man's helpless condition in this world until Christ left the eternal shore to come and rescue him. If man was to be saved these six conditions must be fulfilled; and they were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
I. Some one from the shore must undertake to save him.
II. The Helper must leave the shore and come to him so that he can grasp Him. Not enough to see in the distance One who has pity; must be actual contact.
III. In order to reach him the Deliverer must come within the sweep of the law. No other way of reaching him, but through the current.
IV. The Rescuer must bear the drowning man's share of the curse of the law if He would save him. Powerless to bear the strain himself.
V. The Rescuer must have strength enough to get safely back.
VI. The Saviour and the saved must be firmly bound together. Otherwise the; strain will fall on both, and the latter will inevitably be drowned. Hence the need of faith, which is the grasp of the soul.
(J. M. Gibson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,