What We Learn from the Costa Concordia

In the largest passenger ship loss since the Titanic, 33 of the 4,252 passengers and crew of the Costa Concordia perished. The captain of the ship was arrested on preliminary charges, including manslaughter.

Update: As of February 13, 2015, the captain of the ship has now been found guilty of multiple counts of manslaughter and has been given a 16 year sentence.

Despite the fact that some 99.2% were saved, it remains a tragic loss of life. Every life on board the ship was of unique value, and their individual death is a great tragedy.

Just the other day, my dear friend and brother, Jim Burson, shared with me an astute illustration spawned by this cruise ship incident.

There was a large passenger ship with a thousand people on it. The captain assembled all passengers and announced to them, “The ship is about to sink, but I have ‘Good News.’ Fifty of you will be able to make it to dry land.”

This is the “Good News” of traditionalism, but I contend that it is not “Good News” at all. For the nine hundred and fifty who are about to perish, it certainly is not “Good News.” For those fifty who will not perish, it is not “Good News,” because they likely will leave behind children, wives and husbands. Most of all it is not “Good News” to the captain because he knows it was his responsibility to assure the well-being of his passengers.

Here is what we learn from the Costa Concordia: the captain is always responsible for his ship – and all under his care. Any loss is unacceptable, even .8%. This is even truer concerning the Sovereign of the Universe. He is responsible for all He has made – for His entire creation – and He emphatically declares Himself to be the “Savior of all men” (I Timothy 4:10).

In effectually discharging His responsibility God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to “take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), proclaiming Him to be the actual Savior of the world (John 4:42).

In spite of all of this, Christianity has the faithless audacity to bring an indictment against God: the vast majority of His creation will be eternally lost, and His Son will utterly fail, being guilty Himself of dereliction of responsibility for His Saviorhood.

Our Lord Jesus Christ “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10), and He Who leaves the 99, tirelessly and unfailingly will “go after that which is lost, until He finds it” (Luke 15:4). Some of Christianity would have the nerve to suggest that only a fraction will eventually be saved. However, if Christ’s rate of salvation was that of the Costa Concordia’s – 99.2% – He would be an utter failure, as He was not declared to be the “99.2% Savior of the world.”

Salvation is not the responsibility of the crew or passengers, but of Salvation’s Captain (the “Captain of their salvation” – Hebrews 2:10, KJV) – the successful “Savior of the world.” He, and He alone, will see to its full and complete accomplishment. The Good News is that the ship Salvation is in unwaveringly capable hands. Father and His Son are in absolute control.

Rest, and enjoy the cruise.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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