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Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Daniel Ch5 v27

The Great Escape

Stalag Luft III, a German prisoner-of-war camp, was built to house captured air force personnel during World War 2.

The camp had a number of features that made escape, especially escape by tunnelling, a most discouraging prospect. Yet by this very method, on a moonless night, seventy-six men crawled to freedom – How did they do it?

The plan was to dig three deep tunnels, codenamed Tom, Dick, and Harry. No end of effort and ingenuity went into the construction and concealment of these escape routes.

With three tunnels simultaneously under construction a vast amount of soil had to be hidden from watchful guards. In order to dispose of this soil the decision was taken to refill “Dick.” Then the guards discovered “Tom,” and so “Harry” was the only way of escape.


From the bondage of sin and Satan there is only one way of salvation. The Lord Jesus could say -

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) 


Key to the success of this escape plan was silence and secrecy. About eight hundred prisoners were held in the camp, but only a few dozen knew the location of the trap doors.

In contrast to this secrecy, God’s way of salvation is plainly declared -

“Made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” (Romans 16:26)  


Because the Germans had placed perimeter microphones to detect the sound of digging, any
escape tunnel must be deep. Harry was thrity feet below the surface, and narrow, only about two feet square. It contained larger chambers to house an air pump, a workshop and staging posts. This was the narrow way to freedom.

God’s way of salvation is also described as a narrow way -

“Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)  

God’s salvation leaves no room for the baggage of human pride, effort and worldly wisdom. Stripped of all it leaves the soul entirely shut up to God and simple faith in the saving work of Christ as the only way to heaven.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) 


Some six hundred prisoners had taken part in the escape project, yet at most two hundred and twenty might escape in the limited time available, and in the end only seventy-six did.

By contrast God’s salvation is for all -

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)


On a dark night, with snow covered ground, the prisoners gathered in Hut 104. The trap door under the stove was uncovered and “The Great Escape” began. The tunnel was 348 feet long, but to the dismay of the prisoners it came up 10 feet short of a nearby wood, and only 15 yards from a guard tower. Left so terribly exposed the seventy-seventh man was seen as he made his bid for freedom.

There is nothing “short” about God’s salvation through faith in Christ. It goes all the way!

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” (Hebrews 7:25)

The soul that trusts in Christ will never be left exposed to the judgment of God –

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)


To help others escape, a rope was taken from the tunnel mouth to the relative safety of the wood. From there another prisoner watched the guard towers and search light beams. Two tugs on the rope meant the way was clear. There was no time to lose; this brief moment of opportunity must be taken quickly.

So it is for you, time is short; your day of opportunity will soon pass forever.

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  (2Corinthians 6:2) 


“The Great Escape” from its conception to its execution was fraught with many uncertainties and great danger. Of the seventy-six prisoners that escaped only three made it to freedom. Hitler ordered the execution of all the recaptured escapees. Goering, however, felt that this would be politically difficult to explain, so Hitler ordered that more than half of the prisoners should be shot. The “Sagan Order” was issued, fifty prisoners died (it was alleged) while trying to re-escape or because they offered resistance.

With God’s salvation there is only certainty -

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Act 16:31