1027 to One...
Yesterday Israeli solider Gilad Shalit was released from the militant Palestinian group Hamas that had held him for five years. Shalit's release cost the Israelis 477 Palestinian prisoners released now with the promise of 550 more to be released in two months for a total of 1027 freed Palestinian's to Israel's one soldier. The result on the Palestinian end has been for Hamas to offer emboldened statements saying they will capture more Israeli soldiers so they can have more prisoners set free from Israeli prisons. In other words, the action has enforced their belief that violence is the way to get what they want.
There is something wrong with this picture. And I am not sure I will ever understand the logic of odds that are 1027 to one. But I think there is a precedent for this thinking that stems way back in Jewish history.
From before the time of Abraham, the Hebrews were a shepherding people. A good shepherd cares for his sheep to the point of death if he must. He guards, protects, and seeks the lost. A shepherd with 100 sheep would leave the 99 to go off in search of only one that was missing and would search until it was found. Then he would call all of his friends and neighbors to rejoice that his lost lamb had been returned to him.
In The New York Times article published October 15, 2011, journalist Ethan Bronner writes:
“Israel’s main asset in human and security terms is the sense of mutual responsibility that its citizens and soldiers feel toward one another,” wrote Ari Shavit, a columnist for the newspaper Haaretz.
“Without this feeling,” he continued, “there is no meaning to our lives here. Without this feeling, we have neither army, security nor the ability to protect ourselves. Rightly or not, Shalit has become a symbol of mutual responsibility. And therefore his upcoming release will not only be the redemption of a captive and the saving of the life and the return home of a son. Shalit’s release will be the realization of Israeli solidarity.”
In some respects, Shalit is the lost sheep that was found.
The Jewish Messiah called himself the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. He also said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
So perhaps the Israeli's thinking and playing with such drastic odds isn't so far fetched. One life is worth saving. Just as one lamb is worth finding.
Jesus came to seek even one. For one alone is worth the cost.