The Greatest Sacrifice
Day 1 – The Greatest Sacrifice
Romans 5:7-8, ESV
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Memorial Day is a time to commemorate the brave men and women who served their country and lost their lives as a result of their service in the military. I am reminded of the story of Pat Tilman.
In 2002, Pat Tillman left a successful football career with the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. Army. His decision to leave the sport to join the military garnered a lot of media attention; some had a hard time believing that Tillman would give up all of the perks of being a professional athlete in order to fight for his country. Yet Tillman turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract with the Cardinals to enlist. Before starting his military service, Tillman married his high school girlfriend Marie.
He was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004. He’s a hero for our State and our country. In addition to his Purple Heart and Silver Star medals from the military, Tillman's numbers for the ASU Sun Devils and the Arizona Cardinals were retired in his honor. In May 2010, he was chosen to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. During June of the same year, the NFL and the Pat Tillman Foundation joined forces to create the NFL-Tillman Scholarship to honor an individual who "exemplifies Pat Tillman's enduring legacy of service." A documentary about Pat's life, called The Tillman Story, was released on August 20, 2010.
In John chapters 13-17, we find another brave man, the bravest man ever to live. Jesus is will willing to lay down his life, not simply for his allies, his countrymen, and friends, but for his enemies as well. In this section of scripture, we find extended private teaching that Jesus gave His disciples the evening before His crucifixion.
He’s preparing to die. His time has come and he has some things to say and do before he goes! This section of scripture is commonly called the Farewell Discourse; it is important, for here we find specific teaching on how Jesus’ people are to relate to God and others during the Church Age, which is the day and time we live in now and was started at the birth of the first church in Acts 2.
This private lesson is given by Jesus to eleven of his disciples in Jerusalem, in the evening before his crucifixion. Jesus has some final words with his closest friends.
I can recall times as a pastor when a loved family member was on hospice. They wanted their last evenings with family and their closest friends. Because the time is short, and in their final hours, each moment would matter. In chapters 12-17 we see Jesus has a last supper, washes the disciples' feet, and announces His betrayal.
Then we find what is known as the Upper Room Discourse in chapter 13:31—16:33. Jesus announces a new command that will change the way his disciples live and act for the rest of their lives. He predicts his departure, and Peter questions it! Jesus comforts his disciples and promises the help of the Holy Spirit. He teaches them about what it looks like to abide in a relationship with him even after he’s gone! He warns them about the upcoming opposition they will face, clarifies the future again, and reassures them of his destination in heaven, and then he closes out their time in prayer.
What do Pat Tilman and Jesus have in common? Both were willing to give up their lives! But Jesus’ death showed that he wasn’t willing to die simply for his allies, but for his enemies as well. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8)
As you think of how you want to be remembered, what would you say? As you think of what you would like to do with close friends or family, what would you do what would you say? Live with intentionality! Each day is a gift! Make the most of it!