The 2015 movie Bridge of Spies tells the true story of James Donovan, an American lawyer who was tasked with defending a Soviet spy during the height of the Cold War. After being given the unenviable assignment of unsuccessfully defending Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (real name: Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher) after his capture by U.S. authorities in 1957, the tenacious Mr. Donovan continued with appeals, eventually arguing his client’s case before the Supreme Court (which ruled against him in a 5-4 decision). Although his arguments did not sway the courts, he did manage to see one decision go in his favor…
The judge’s decision NOT to sentence Mr. Abel to death.
Instead of the obvious death sentence for his acts of espionage, Mr. Abel was instead sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Four years after his defeat in court, Mr. Donovan and Mr. Abel were once again reunited on the Glienicke Bridge when Abel was traded to the Soviets for downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. Not only that, but at about that same time at Checkpoint Charlie, American student Frederic Pryor, who had been held without charge by the East Germans, was being released as well.
In 1962, Mr. Donovan, who had also been involved in the Nuremberg Trials following World War II, was again tapped to help negotiate the release of 1,113 prisoners who had been captured in Cuba following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
In the end, James Donovan secured the release of of 9,703 men, women, and children who were being held in Cuba.
There was a chasm that stood between sinful men and God. Because of our sin, mankind was in need of a Redeemer. We were all lost, in the prison between Hopelessness and Despair.
But Jesus became our advocate. Jesus stepped in, not only to negotiate the release of the prisoners, but to BE the bridge that spans the chasm between God and man. In I John 2, John writes…
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
And when Jesus “negotiated” our release, it wasn’t for a select few… it was for the whole of humanity. It was for any and all who would call upon His name to be saved.