Since he was rescued, this penguin demonstrates his love for the person that saved, cleaned, fed and cared for him one day. This happened in March 2011. Joao Pereira de Souza found the animal completely drenched in oil on the beach of Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro. From that day forth, the penguin, now named Jinjing, spends about eight months every year with the retired man before returning home to Patagonia, in Argentina.
Jinjing is a Magellanic penguin, a species that has a very interesting feature: they do not like cold temperatures. This means that every year, when the temperature decreases, these penguins migrate from their homeland to other regions in the north, in search of food and refuge. The problem is that they need to swim thousands of kilometers through the cold water during months, until they reach these places, costing many of them their lives. Those who reach the coasts alive are usually covered in oil, hungry, dehydrated and utterly exhausted.
This was how Jinjing washed up on shore when he was rescued by Mr. John. However, he continues to make this dangerous journey every year, which is about three thousand kilometers during four months, just to spend time with the man that saved him. If there was a word to describe what this penguin does year after year to show his love for the person that took him in and literally saved him from death, that word is sacrifice.
It is interesting to see how sacrifice and love are always connected. When a spouse does not sacrifice, a marriage cannot exist; when a person does not sacrifice to donate blood, another person may die; when a mother does not sacrifice, a child cannot be born; without the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, we would not be saved. Notice how it is impossible to separate sacrifice from love in these examples, whether it’s the love between a man and woman, the love for your neighbor, a mother’s love, the Fatherly love of the Most High God, who sent His only begotten Son into the world for the sake of mankind (John 3.16) or the love of His own Son.
In fact, there is no way a person can keep from surrendering to the love that is revealed by the Lord Jesus, who voluntarily presented Himself to the Father to become a Living Sacrifice for the sake of Salvation of all those who believe in Him. Because when all the attempts for man to surrender to God and turn away from sin failed and when the blood sacrifices of animals were not enough for their remission, the Son said to the Father:
Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me – to do Your will, O God. Hebrews 10.7
By presenting Himself with humbleness and spontaneity to do the will of the Father, the Lord Jesus was declared guilty of the transgressions of the entire human race, even though He is pure, holy and perfect, only His blood would be enough to redeem us. In other words, He became cursed, subjected Himself to the shame of the cross and had to bear with the temporary separation from the Father, which, being the very expression of Pureness could not continue unified to the Son because He was tainted with our sin.
So, He cried out:
My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? Mark 15.34
At that moment, it was as if the Father had turned His face to the Son exactly when He needed Him the most. This was the Lord Jesus’ greatest pain, being separated from the Father, the One who was One with Him.
All those who, for some reason, have had to be separated from someone they love, have also suffered because of the separation, even though it may have been momentary. And precisely because it is a great pain, the best way to heal it is to bring everyone again. This is why JingJing’s sacrifice to come back to the person that rescued him is understandable. This is also why every person who was once rescued and saved by the Lord Jesus cherishes Him for His love, respects Him, fears Him, obeys Him, sacrifices themselves and cannot stand the thought of being apart from Him or His care for a single moment. He appreciates His sacrifice and for this reason, he can enjoy the privilege of living in union with Him forever, never being separate from Him. Unless he wants to, and so assumes the risk of dying in the cold ocean, never being able to get back.