A fellow named Don Richardson spent some frustrating years as a missionary among the Sawi tribe in New Guinea.
The gospel of God’s love and forgiveness held little appeal to the Sawi, for they held up deceit as the highest virtue. They saw no reason to change their cruel and cannibalistic ways.
In fact, when Richardson told them the story of Jesus, the Sawi looked upon Judas as the real hero – for he had shrewdly penetrated the inner circle of the disciples before turning against Jesus.
Fed up after the fourteenth bloody battle in front of his home, he made up his mind to leave the tribe. But in an effort to convince him to stay among them anyway, the Sawi and their hated enemies, the Haenam tribe, carried out an elaborate ritual in front of his home.
The entire village gathered to watch. All were silent, except the wife of the Sawi chief. She screamed as the chief seized their six month old baby from her arms, held him high in the air, and then carried his son to the enemy chief and gave him to his enemies. Someone explained to Richardson that the Haenam tribe would rename the baby and raise him as one of their own.
Richardson knew that the Sawi could not be trusted. Anything they did was suspect, doubtful, maybe part of an elaborate deception.
But that day he learned of one great exception – the peace child. A chief’s giving his own son to his enemies – a profound act overcoming all suspicion. By mutual agreement, as long as the peace child lived, no wars could be fought between the two tribes.
Richardson gathered the members of the tribe around him – and told them of God’s peace Child, the Prince of Peace, born at Bethlehem. God had sent His Child, Jesus, to live among His enemies. It was ultimate proof of His love.
All this God did for us even before we believed in Him, even when we were His enemies, even when we were powerless and godless and remorseless and faithless. St. Paul framed it this way: “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also graciously give us all things along with Him?” (Romans 8:32 EHV).
The test of Abraham’s love for God was whether he loved God more than the son God had given him. In the end, God spared Abraham’s son. But God did not spare His Son. Can we ever doubt God’s love for us again?