Many years ago, in a small house on the bank of the Hudson river, there lived a man with his wife and two
children-a daughter and a little son. He was in charge of the train bridge, a large swing bridge near their
house that he had to open in order for big boats to pass by and close so trains could cross the river.
Since he could not leave his post during the day, his daughter would carry his lunch over the bridge to
him when she was able.
One day, however, his daughter could not make the trip to the little house on the other side of the bridge where her father sat at the controls, so mother asked the little boy if he thought he was now big enough to take Daddy's lunch to him. He had always wished to go along with his sister someday, and felt very honored to be asked to do this job alone. He assured his mother that he would be very careful and do a good job, so she kissed him and sent him on his way.
As he approached the big bridge, he felt a little unsure, but seeing where his father was at the other end gave him fresh courage. Carrying the lunch basket which was almost as big as himself, he slowly made his way down the tracks. His father, realizing it was now approaching noon-time, looked out the window to see if his daughter was on her way, and was surprised to see his little boy coming in her place. He was happy to see how big his little boy was getting, and lovingly watched him take his small, careful steps.
On and on the little boy trudged, looking only straight ahead, when to the father's horror a train whistled for the bridge. The signal down the tracks let the train know that the bridge was already closed, so it did not slow down. The father quickly realized that his son was in the very middle of the bridge, and would have no chance to escape the oncoming train. As the train came into view, the father thought that he could save his son by opening the bridge-but that would cost the lives of all those on the train. Bravely, he held the bridge closed, and the speeding train made it safely to the other side.
The people on the train were saved, but at the great cost of the bridgeman's son. Saving those people cost the father his only son, and it cost the son his life.
This story was reportedly often told by the famous evangelist D.L. Moody as a powerful illustration of the loving sacrifice God made when "the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14). Just like the bridgeman in the story, God "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all" (Romans 8:32). In His great love for us, God chose to give "His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16,17).
When God saw our terrible, lost condition brought on because of sin, He (the righteous Judge) knew the sentence of everlasting punishment that was ahead of us. He also knew the one way for us to be saved from that judgment, so He sent His only Son to become our Saviour. Jesus, by suffering sin's judgment-in our place-on the cross of Calvary, has provided salvation and pardon for all who will accept it.
Those on the train that day probably never knew that their lives were in danger, or the great price that a father had paid to save them. I hope you will not ignore the great danger facing your soul: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Consider the cost paid by the Father and the Son to offer salvation to you. There is no need for you to bear your burden of sin any longer, nor face its required punishment of separation from God in the torment of eternal hell (Revelation 20:15). Jesus paid the price for you; all you need to do is trust Him today as your Saviour.
"God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (1 John 5:11-13).