Emperor Theodore of Ethiopia had held a group of 53 European captives for four years. The prisoners included missionaries and a British consul. Queen Victoria wrote letters pleading for the release of the captives. Theodore refused and held the prisoners in a nine-thousand-foot-high fortress deep in the interior of the country.
At last the queen ordered a full-scale military expedition from India to march into Ethiopia. The goal was not to conquer the country and make it a British colony, but to rescue the tiny band of civilians.
The invasion force included 32,000 men, heavy artillery, and 44 elephants to carry the guns. Provisions included 50,000 tons of beef and pork and 30,000 gallons of rum. Engineers built landing piers, water treatment plants, a railroad, and a telegraph line to the interior, plus lots of bridges. All of this was necessary to fight one decisive battle, after which the prisoners were released. Then the British packed up and went home. The British spent millions of pounds to rescue a handful of captives.
Does that seem a bit excessive? Yes. But think of what God expended to rescue captives – the life of His Son.