But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
…no word from God will ever fail.”
Luke 1:30-35, 37
There he sat in the lounge chair, snacking on munchies with his friends while watching one of his favorite movies. They were more than friends really. After working twenty-four hour shifts with these men, after saving lives with these men, after fighting fire with these men, they were his family. It always felt good to be around them. He was completely relaxed, completely at peace, and completely content when the bell went off.
“Beep, beep, beep,” the pre-alert sounded. “Structure fire, flames and smoke seen from an upper floor of a highrise. Address is…” As was often the case, the tone of the female dispatcher’s voice said as much or more about the call than her actual words. This wasn’t a false alarm or burned toast. This was a serious call.
He moved quickly and easily from the lounge chair and made for the apparatus bay where his fire engine waited. Like a mother duck with ducklings, the Captain unconsciously listened for the noises of his crew making their way to the engine. First running, then the sounds of his men donning their protective gear, then the sounds of doors slamming – one door, the driver’s, then another, then another. As he entered the cab himself he heard the engine start, he heard the bay door open as he looked down to zip up his turnout coat, then he heard the siren.
“8102 responding,” he said into the radio as he simultaneously pushed the responding button on his mobile computer.
“Do you know where we’re going?” he asked the engineer. As usual he did.
The headsets came on and one of his firefighters asked, “What do you think Cap?”
“Sounds like the real deal to me,” the Captain replied. “We could be first in. Be prepared.”
“First in.” First in had special implications. Incidents that start well usually go well. Incidents that don’t start well…
“What are we taking up?” one of the firefighters asked. The crew reviewed the list of equipment that they’d need to take with them: two inch and three quarter hose packs, thermal imaging camera, irons for forcible entry…
It was barely more than five minutes when they heard the dispatcher say, “Units responding to the highrise fire, we have a report of multiple trapped victims on the fire floor and on the floors above.”
“Copy,” the Captain said into the radio. His adrenaline was already pumping but this last bit of information felt like an electric shock.
They turned a corner and there it was: perhaps fifteen or twenty floors up, multiple floors well involved with fire. People hanging out of windows. He took the briefest moment to steel himself for what was to come, then he gave his report, “8102 is on scene at a thirty story apartment building with at least three floors well involved, possibly floors fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. We have victims hanging out of windows. 8102 is going to the lowest fire floor. 8153, it looks like we’ll need at least ten alarms.”
“Central copies, multiple floors well involved. 8102 we just received a report of a floor collapse on the seventeenth floor.”
“Copy, floor collapse on the seventeenth,” the Captain said. Then to his crew he said, “Let’s do it.”
They bailed off the engine, entered the building, and began making their way up the stairwell to the fifteenth floor. On their way up, they shouted and directed people to the way of safety.
“8102,” the dispatcher called.
“8102, go ahead,” the Captain answered.
“8102, we have reports of two more floors collapsing. It appears to be the fifteenth and sixteenth floors. We also have a report of fire showing on the roof.”
“Copy,” the Captain said trying to catch his breath enough to speak as he climbed the staircase.
“Cap?” It was his youngest firefighter, “Cap, are we going to make it?”
“We’ll save as many as we can.”
“OK but will we make it?”
The Captain knew they had to climb as far up into the highrise as possible. He knew he couldn’t save them all. He knew they’d have to save as many as they could.
And he knew they probably weren’t coming back.
“We’ll save as many as we can.” he said. The young firefighter could hear the determination in his voice…
Before Jesus was born into this world to save us, He enjoyed a wonderful and amazing life in heaven with the Father. He enjoyed a life that was filled with glory but He chose to forfeit all of that to come down to earth. (John 17:5) He chose to come in order to save as many as He could. He chose to come even though He knew it meant His own death.
Like the fire Captain in our story, what a devastating choice that was for Jesus.
But what a glorious choice that is for you and for me.
The fire Captain left the comfort of his fire station to go up into the highrise to save as many as he could, knowing that death awaited him. Jesus left His life in heaven with the Father to come down into the earth to save as many as He could.
Praise God in the highest for in spite of the terrible death that awaited Him, Jesus chose to come for you and for me, to save us, for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)
Paul, speaking of Jesus, said,
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Thank you Lord for choosing to come down to save us.
Glory to God in the highest!
Photo by drproehl