Without question, it’s one of the most tragic stories of all time. In 1991, in Taberg, New York, a father and son went on their first deer hunting trip together. Gene Bulak and his 18-year-old son, Michael, were hunting with three friends in Oswego County when they spotted a deer. As the five spread out to circle the deer, Mr. Bulak fired.
The next few moments would reveal the shocking reality that the father had mistaken his son for the deer and shot him with a 12-gauge shotgun.
What must have gone through his mind when he walked upon what he was confident was a deer, only to find his son, lying dead in a pool of blood.
The other hunters frantically ran for help only to be frozen in their tracks by the sound of a second shot. This time, the grief-stricken father had turned the gun on himself. Friends said the father and son were extremely close. Both died at the scene with massive head injuries.
Tragic? No question. Sad? Understatement of the year.
Unique? Not entirely. Keep reading.
Over 2,000 years ago, another Father killed His Son. But this time it was intentional. He meant to do it. It’s hard enough to believe, but even more unimaginable when you consider how close this Father and Son were. They were so close and so much alike it was virtually impossible to discern any difference.
The circumstances surrounding this Son’s death also involved a hunting expedition. However, this time no 12-gauge shotguns were needed and they weren’t after deer. This time they were in passionate pursuit of people. People like you and me.
The Father was God and the Son was none other than the Lord, JESUS CHRIST. As impossible as this may sound, Isaiah 53:10 confirms, “It was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer.”
God killed His Son ... on purpose. You and I were that purpose.
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” and somebody had to pay for the sins we had committed. Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” In short, JESUS had to die in order that you and I could live forever.
The decision was God’s to make. You might say His hand was “on the trigger.” What does a father do in a situation like that? What would you do? The death of a son (or daughter) is something no father ever wants to face.
Yet God looked beyond the death of His Son to the lives of countless men, women, boys and girls who needed forgiveness, and decided in our favor. What a decision. What a sacrifice. What a Father!
What would you do? The death of a son (or daughter) is something no father ever wants to face.
The Bible calls it a “gift.” Romans 6:23 says, “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So this Christmas, remember there’s more to it than jingle bells, reindeer, lights, trees and presents. THE REAL STORY is about a Father Who “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
That’s the greatest gift of all!
© 2019. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.