The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south, and the Lord Almighty will shield them. (Zech. 9:14–15)

AFTER THE DEVASTATING FIRE in Black Forest, Colorado, Sheriff Terry Maketa reported that three of his deputies heroically raced into the burning forest to rescue an eighty-five-year-old disabled woman. When they got to the woman’s house, the driveway was blocked by flames. One deputy left his vehicle down the road, with lights flashing, in order to help them find their way out through the flames. Embers were burning holes on the hood of the rescue car, but they were able to get the woman out safely. The sheriff concluded, “They put their lives at risk because they couldn’t live with the fact that they left a citizen behind.”

Zechariah prophesied about the Messiah entering Jerusalem on a donkey, an unambiguous symbol of peace. When Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, He was greeted by throngs of people who had been suffering under the heavy hand of an oppressor. A few days later, of course, these same people may have been shouting for Jesus’ crucifixion, because He failed to meet their expectations for a political deliverer.

The police officers who shielded that elderly woman would rightly be called “heroes.” However, many people today look to less heroic “functional saviors” (money, power, relationships, etc.), which they believe will deliver them from the stresses and insecurities of life. But only when they look to Jesus to be their shield will their lives be marked by meaning, significance, and a divinely inspired sense of purpose.

Ask God to reveal in your own life any tempting “functional saviors.”

Doug Schmidt is a freelance writer and editor and is on staff with his church as a small-groups coach.