One gave His life for all.
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“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13 New International Version
Memorial Day originated in 1868, just after the Civil War, to honor those who died defending our nation. At that time it was called Decoration Day and acted as a time to decorate the soldier’s graves. Eventually it became a time to remember and be thankful for all of those who died in our defense.
My husband is one of these soldiers. He was killed in Iraq in 2006. Many would say he gave the ultimate sacrifice. My husband chose to serve this nation, and he was willing to give his life if necessary, yet he would have preferred to stay alive. He wanted to be here for his children, the rest of his family and his friends. Sometimes people thank me for my sacrifice, and it makes me uncomfortable because I did not sacrifice my husband willingly. At first I found comfort thinking that his death prevented the death of others. This idea was shattered when the next deaths came to his army unit. His death was a sacrifice, but it was not the ultimate sacrifice.
There is one who did willingly make the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus commanded the wind and waves. His touch healed every illness. The sound of His voice rose people from the dead. His Father created the heavens, the earth and all that is in them. He had the power to stay alive as long as He desired. Each time I read through the gospels I discern more the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice for us. He had multiple opportunities as He progressed toward His crucifixion to stop it from happening. Each word He spoke or chose not to speak was calculated carefully to continue His progression to the cross. When He spoke His own name the Roman cohort sent to arrest Him fell to the ground. Yet He willingly went with them. He knew His death would save us. One death, willingly offered, brought eternal life for all. That is the ultimate sacrifice.
Text and picture copyright Richelle Hecker
Drawing copyright Alexandra Hecker