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Last night, Laurie and I watched the movie, Sully, starring Tom Hanks. It was our second viewing. After Captain Sullenberger had safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River, an enormous deal of attention was focused on him and the incident. None of the passengers, flight crew, or pilots died in the landing. Understandably, everyone he met thanked him and called him a hero. In one scene, an employee of the hotel in which he was staying asked if he needed anything. The captain wondered if his uniform could be dry cleaned before the following morning, even though the hour was late. It was the clothing he had been wearing in the cockpit that day, and all that he had. She was surprised. This may not be a direct quote, but she said something like, “Dry cleaning? Captain Sullenberger, I would give you the hotel if I could.”

This heroic landing occurred only a little over seven years after the horrors of 9/11. New Yorkers were incredibly grateful that a potential tragedy had ended happily. What Sullenberger did was extraordinary. The press called it The Miracle on the Hudson. He was loved and hailed as a hero, as he should have been, for his skill and good judgment that day. One hundred and fifty-five people were saved. They were all preparing themselves to die in an awful, fiery plane crash. If I had been one of them, I’m sure I would want to thank Captain Sullenberger, too—probably hug him, if I had the opportunity. I would be standing and applauding among the hundreds or thousands if he were to be honored in public. It was right and good and proper.

One hundred and fifty-five lives.

I don’t think it would be difficult to imagine the overwhelming joy and relief the passengers and crew felt, to be facing death one minute and rescued a few minutes later.

Similarly, It would not be difficult to imagine how grateful one would be after being saved from drowning in a flood or rescued from being burned alive from a fire. We would be thanking our rescuers over and over again, I am certain. One moment we are readying ourselves for pain and death, and the next, instead, we are being told, “You’re gonna be all right. We’re taking you home.”

As I thought about the accolades being given to this heroic captain, it caused me to think about the multitudes in heaven that will be present to offer accolades to the One who rescued multitudes from death. Not just the passengers and crew of an airliner. Not just the people of a city or a nation. There will not be thousands or even ten thousand. There will be “myriads of myriads,” whatever number that is. This is our beloved brother John trying to explain the numbers he witnessed.

“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’” (Revelation 5:11–13).1

Amen. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. He rescued us from the pain and darkness of eternal death. We are sons of our Father, the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of all things. Co-heirs in a kingdom with His Son, Jesus. We have been given His very righteousness and are without spot or blemish before Him. We shall reign with Him forever and ever.

Can you imagine the thanks, the gratitude?

I cannot.

But I will give it. I will give it for eternity.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

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