Gow Hong was a little old Chinese merchant from the lowlands of Formosa. He first contacted the aborigines (the headhunters) to do business with them. He sold them salt and other products they could not produce for themselves. Gow Hong came to trade but he settled down to live among them.

As the people came to know him, they discovered something different about him. He had a glow, a love, and a tenderness they didn't have. It was after living among them for many years that he said, "There is one thing you must stop, completely and forever. You must stop this practice of taking lives to obtain heads for sacrifice."

The leaders consulted and said, "This year, because we appreciate all the things you've done to help our tribe, we shall take only one head."

The Chinese man tried to get them to reconsider, but there was no changing them. Finally he said, "All right, if you take this one head, will you promise to stop this practice forever?"

The leaders promised. Gow Hong continued, "Then that's the best bargain I can make. What night and where will you go for your victim?" Trusting him, they told him, and the Chinese merchant returned to his home.

Preparations were great for the big feast. It was in 'the dark of the moon' and the dusk of evening blended into night as the hunters sharpened their knives and went to where they would await their victim. In the deep darkness of a jungle trail they patiently listened for footsteps of a traveler. Shortly after midnight they were rewarded by the sound of someone approaching.

The natives crouched for the attack. Then the shadowy shape of their victim loomed in the darkness. There was the swing of a heavy knife, and the murder was committed. The young men raced back to the village in the darkness so the ceremony could begin.

When they reached the ceremonial fire, everyone crowded around to see the head as one of the hunters plunged his hand into the basket. The people fell back in stunned amazement, for in the hunter's hand was the head of their Chinese friend, the only outsider who had ever loved them enough to care what happened to them! Now he was dead, and they had killed him!

In the deathly silence that followed, they all realized that their Chinese friend had knowingly become their sacrifice. He had made them promise they would take only one more life, and then he had become that sacrifice. The words of the leader were grim, and the people nodded their assent to them: "We shall never forget that promise."

Gow Hong, the Chinese merchant, laid down his life to stamp out headhunting among the aborigines of Formosa. He died in 'the dark of the moon'.

The Lord Jesus Christ laid down His life that all who believe on Him might be saved. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). He died in the darkness of God's wrath that engulfed Calvary's cross as our sins were laid upon Him.

Have you trusted this holy One who loved you and gave Himself for you? He took your place in death and bore the judgment of God for your sins. (1 Peter 2:24).

-Tract, Good News Publishers, Adapted