I wrote this a few years ago, and thought today it was most fitting.
A few days ago, I had the privilege of going to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. As I walked around, I was overwhelmed by the realization that people from many nations over 60 years ago had enough courage to try to defeat the great enemy of Germany. Thousands gave their lives for you and me to be free. Get this — people gave their lives so you could go to school, go to church where you want, wear what you want, speak what you want, and be what you want. As I thought about this, I found a spot on the side of the small bluff and allowed the wind to stroke my hair as I thanked God for the bravery of our fallen soldiers.
Please take a second to thank God for our brave Armed Forces that exist to secure our future. Ask God to protect those that serve us so unselfishly.
Before I sat down on the hill, I overheard a tour guide teaching a group of US military say that the average age of a soldier in 1944 was 19. Some were older, but many were much younger. I sat in silence consumed by thought. I gazed upward, tears in my eyes, and saw the American flag displayed, swaying boldly outward as if to exclaim the victory of the war. Probably the most touching of all my observations were the aged veterans walking slowly from plaque to plaque reading the names of the American soldiers honored at the memorial, some of them perhaps looking for a familiar name. The Blue Ridge Mountains in the background were breathtaking.
My mind was overtaken with the idea of sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice. The complete sacrifice. I thought of one name –Jesus. Jesus, this guy we hear about so often in church. This guy who has become a fad in our culture. Almost instantaneously, I was upset that some of us do not remember that He sacrificed His life for us on a cross. His death so horrible, so brutal, that His body was unrecognizable. He died for you and me. You cannot mention the word sacrifice without mentioning Jesus. Today, I want to focus on the name of Jesus and what He did for us. We respect our beloved soldiers so much for their sacrifice for our temporal freedom, but how much more should we respect Jesus for giving us eternal freedom?
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE.
We know that God is perfect and cannot be around sin. Because we are not perfect, God had to make a way for sin to be defeated. So, He sent His only Son to sacrifice His life for YOU and ME on a cross, bearing the sin of the whole world. Now if we believe by faith in God and ask to be forgiven from our sin, we can have a relationship with God, and, subsequently, eternal life.
Jesus Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice us. Let me say that again. Jesus Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. Think of our culture. What have we done with His name? Do we respect it? Do we honor it? Unfortunately, quite the opposite. We make fun of Him like He is some psycho crazy person. We wear His name on our T-shirts like He is a fad, just like the latest thing from Hollister. Even Christians don’t observe what He says in the Bible. We have made Him a joke by our actions and attitude when He made it possible for us to have a relationship with God in life and eternity through His death. We are nowhere near worthy of that sacrifice.
Some of you already know this, but some of you desperately need to believe in this God I keep talking about. Some of you have friends that desperately need to know that there is something greater than the latest celebrity gossip or what’s new at the mall! Someone you know has a life crumbling around them, and you have the answer and have not shared it because of your own insecurities. We need to wake up to the hurt and pain in the world and share the ultimate sacrificial story. We need to give our world hope, just like our men and women in uniform have done for us on earth. Won’t you join me in the effort to saturate the world with the word hope. God isn’t mad at you. He loves you. He is waiting desperately for you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.