A maritime tradition states that it is the responsibility of the captain of the vessel to ensure each member of his crew gets to safety if their ship is going down. And should not everyone get off the boat, the captain would go down with the ship, still trying to rescue his men.
Great leadership comes in many forms, but none so great as a man that lay down his life for his people.
Moses was ready to do just that.
The people had sinned greatly, worshiping a golden calf they had created while Moses was on the Mountain meeting with God. When Moses returned, he couldn’t believe his eyes. He had left Aaron in charge but as he saw the crowd of people, shamelessly and openly worshiping these false gods, Moses was furious. He demanded for the choice to be made that day of who wanted to follow God. The others, still out in the streets, were to be killed.
While Moses was infuriated by the sin of the people, he also mourned for them and pleaded to God on their behalf.
“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” (Exodus 32:30-32)
The captain, ready to go down saving his people, Moses pleads with God for the men, offering his own life on their behalf. He took full responsibility for their sin, yet he wasn’t even guilty.
Do you know the implications of Moses’ statement? He said if you won’t forgive them of their sin, then I’ll suffer the same death as them. Taking Moses’ name out of the book meant he would face separation from God. He was ready to give it all away to save the souls of the people, even his life.
There is another man who demonstrated his love for his people by laying down his life so that they might be saved. Jesus Christ, the perfect, sinless, sacrificial lamb, came to save that which was lost. And He offered up His life to save us. He took full responsibility for our sins even though He was not guilty.
We all serve a captain, whether it be someone else or ourselves. Is Christ the captain of your life? Is he steering your ship or are you at the helm?