One day in the spring of 2001, Ken Waters awakened in his own bed for the first time in 19 years. Nineteen years ago Ken Waters was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in a Massachusetts courtroom of first-degree murder. Devastated, his sister, Bette Anne Waters, was convinced of her brother’s innocence and refused to accept the outcome of the trial. A single mother of three, Bette went to law school for the express purpose of overturning her brother’s conviction.
After studying recent convictions overturned by DNA evidence, Bette scoured the courthouse to see if any DNA evidence was available from her brother’s trial. She knew it was a longshot because most DNA evidence is destroyed after 10 years. Her heart was pounding as she awaited the response from the courthouse clerk. Within minutes she was informed that the DNA evidence was still intact.
There was only one more question. Would the DNA evidence exonerate her brother? The testing that followed clearly showed this was not Ken Waters’ DNA. Waters was a free man.
It was an emotional scene as Ken’s mother and sister, Bette Anne, wept and embraced him. Though costly, Bette’s devotion help free her brother. It was worth every bit of sacrifice. – David Slagle, Lawrenceville Georgia; source: “The Today Show” (3/15/01)
What sacrifice! What commitment, what effort to free her brother and bring him home. Law school and the expense of law school, all the classes and years of studying, bar exams. Then scouring the courthouse to see if any DNA evidence was still available. The trial, waiting, the expense. All to bring her brother home.
This is nothing compared to the cost to God and Jesus Christ to bring us home:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit… 1 Peter 3:18
What a cost God paid to bring us home. He gave up his one and only Son. He watched him live 33 years and be subject to Satan’s fiercest onslaughts of temptation. He watched Roman soldiers scourged Jesus, spit on him and pounded a gruesome crown of twisted thorns onto his head. He watched his Son stumble beneath the weight of the cross as he dragged it through the streets of Jerusalem. He watched the Roman soldiers stretch out Jesus’ hands and drive spikes through them. He watched his beloved Son hang on the cross for six hours and as he heaped his wrath upon him to pay for our sins. He listened as Jesus cried out in thirst and anguish of soul.
What a cost Jesus paid! Taking on human nature, suffering hunger and thirst, enduring the mocking and hatred of his creatures. Abandoned by his friends and brutalized by Roman soldiers and forsaken by his Father.
Ken Waters’ sister did all she did because she was convinced she was innocent. God did all he did for us knowing the depth of our filth and guilt.
Surely Ken Waters would never doubt his sisters love for him. How could he after all she had gone through to free him? How can we doubt our Father’s love for us when we consider all he went through to purchase our forgiveness? What he gave up – the most precious thing in the universe – Jesus. Infinitely more precious than the whole universe, and heaven itself. And how can we doubt when we look at what Jesus did in love for us – all he gave up, all he endured. All because he loved us. Let us never doubt God’s love for us. He demonstrated that love while we were still sinners. Helpless, hopeless sinners, who hated him.
O Lord God, we are eternally grateful for your love that came to seek and save the lost.