“Lady Schindler”

Thanks to the Academy Award winning movie “Schindler’s List,” directed by Steven Spielberg, it’s very likely that you know who Oskar Schindler was. As Wikipedia puts it:

“Schindler was a German industrialist, humanitarian and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.”

Released 30 years ago this November, the movie made Schindler a household name. But it is likely that you never heard of Irena Sendler, known as “the female Schindler.” She saved an estimated 2,500 people from death at the hands of the Nazis, all of them children. Also from Wikipedia:

“Sendler participated, with dozens of others, in smuggling Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then providing them with false identity documents and shelter with willing Polish families or in orphanages and other care facilities, including Catholic nun convents, saving those children from the Holocaust.”

She was caught by the Nazis and sentenced to death for her activities, but narrowly escaped on the day of her scheduled execution. Spielberg’s movie served to enlighten a generation about what “The Holocaust” really means. But Schindler’s is just one story, and Sendler’s another. We’ll never know how many people risked or lost their lives to save the innocent during that very dark time. I was reminded of the Schindler/Sendler notoriety disparity recently when I read the closing verse from the Gospel of John. It is a verse that doesn’t get a lot of attention:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25 (NIV)

John is likely implying that he witnessed Jesus do many things that he (and probably the other gospel writers) do not report. But it got me to thinking about how little we know of Jesus’ life. He lived for 33 years. He lived every minute of it as fully man and fully God. That means every single act by Jesus on earth was an act of God! Wrap your mind around that. Every breath, every decision, every meal, every smile, every conversation was an act of God! But, perhaps most importantly, every interaction of any kind with other people was an act of God.

We know about the bleeding woman, we know about the woman at the well, we know about Lazarus, and the little girl Jesus raised from the dead, and water into wine and walking on water and others. But it is virtually impossible to imagine how many other people Jesus touched in similar ways when no gospel writer was there to witness it.

We know nothing of Jesus’ life from roughly age 3 to age 12 and age 12 to age 30. Gary Burge, writing in the NIV Application Commentary, calls John’s closing verse “delightful hyperbole.”

“Such expressions were common in antiquity. Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai, a first-century teacher, wrote, ‘If all heaven were a parchment, and all the trees produced pens, and all the waters were ink, they would not suffice to inscribe the wisdom I have received from my teachers: and yet from the wisdom of the wise I have enjoyed only so much as the water a fly which plunges into the sea can remove.’ John ends his Gospel with similar humility. The story is larger than anything he can imagine. His effort, while glorious for us to read, pales in comparison to the glory of the Person whom his story describes.”

What a glorious reminder that all that we do know about Jesus is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest will remain hidden below the surface until the day we meet Him in person. I don’t know about you, but that makes the thought of eternity with Him even more exciting to me! Meantime, I invite you to get to know Him the best you can in the gospels. It may not be the whole story, but I promise it will bring you closer to Him in the here and now.

— Pastor Jerry Bader

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