“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 – NLT
I found myself walking in the woods this week with my 8-month-old grandson… just the two of us on a hunt for “Woody” the woodpecker. As I showed him poison ivy, a few squirrels and even a mangy opossum looking for food… a powerful thought came over me.
Throughout American history, how many parents and grandparents have held young children in their arms imagining their future and then in the years to come… learn their precious loved one gave their life in the service of others.
As a combat veteran, this isn’t a new thought, but in that sliver of time looking into the bright eyes of my young grandson, I was overcome with emotion.
I just finished listening to a book called, The Last Stand at Khe Sahn; The US Marines Finest Hour in Vietnam.
Suffice to say I knew very little about the Marines who fought there. This book shared acts of bravery and heroism exhibited by countless young men, many of whom died before their 22nd birthday.
Over and over again, from first hand accounts and journals, we learned the biggest motivation for these young heroes to fight… and die… were their friends.
None of them wanted to die, but all were willing if it meant standing between the enemy and their friends.
Volunteering to serve in the military, law enforcement or fire-rescue is one thing. We know the risks and choose to accept them… knowing it may require our lives.
What must it be like to be the person for whom a friend sacrifices his or her life?
Regardless of different religious points of view, today is a day to remember a man who laid down his life for all mankind, which includes you and me.
However, to be innocent of the crime, sentenced to a torturous death and knowingly accept the consequences for me is hard to get my arms around… but that’s exactly what Jesus did.
Then I imagine what it must have been like for his mother, family and friends to witness this heinous scene… it’s almost too much to take.
Regardless of whether you believe in Christ’s resurrection and the impact on your eternal reward, when you study this event in world history, the punishment He took for his friends is incredible.
If you’ve never watched Passion of The Christ (or even if you have), you might consider watching it with someone who does not know Jesus.
To see this realistic representation of His suffering and to learn why Jesus laid down His life for His friends may be the turning point in someone’s life & family… possibly yours.
The movie is rated R because it’s appropriately graphic so it’s not good for young kids. Given what many teenagers have seen in the movies, this true story may get their attention. You can find it today on most cable and online video channels.
Have a blessed Easter.
P.S. Knowing what love looks like in the face of a friend who leaves it all on the battlefield or on the cross is powerful.
What we choose to do with their legacy is another discussion we’ll begin on Monday, April 18th, which is Patriots’ Day.