I saw Jesus on Memorial Day. I didn’t bump into Him on the street or sit across the table from Him while we shared a cup of coffee, but I saw Him just the same. And I was grateful, humbled, and overwhelmed all at the same time.
In the United States, we celebrate Memorial Day to remember and honor the men and women who died while serving in our nation’s armed forces. These individuals gave the ultimate gift—their own lives—to help ensure our freedom, peace, and security. Jesus did the same.
Many of the conflicts in which military personnel lost their lives were fought to ensure our freedom—the ability to speak, worship, and live independently—without being oppressed, controlled, or dominated by evil. Honorable men and women rose up to fight against tyranny and the bondage that results when evil rules.
Jesus gave His life so that we could experience freedom on a spiritual level. It was for freedom that Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1). He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins so that we would be free from having to pay the penalty for our sins (because He did), and so that we could be free from sin exerting power or authority in our lives (because His power is greater) (Romans 6:14, 23).
Jesus made the supreme sacrifice to ensure our freedom, and “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36, NASB).
Our men and women in the armed forces go to war in order to usher in peace. They fight the threat, risking and giving their lives, so that violence, injustice, and abuse might end. They wage war to end war. Many die so that we might live in peace.
Jesus came to earth to fight the sin battle and to wage war against sin. His ultimate sacrifice ensures peace with God for all who receive Him. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Sin creates a separation between us and God (Isaiah 59:2). God is holy and just, as well as loving. All His qualities are evident in His sending Jesus to take care of the sin problem. Now, “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1, NASB).
How did you enjoy Memorial Day? I know of several friends who vacationed at fun and delightful places. At our house, we enjoyed a “staycation.” We stayed at home and rested, enjoying the blessing of slowing down and spending time together. Whatever we did, we could relax, knowing we were safe and secure.
The men and women in our armed forces, past and present, helped to ensure the security we experienced on the holiday, and the many days before and after. Their sacrifices enabled us to live without fear of bombings, famine, oppression, torment, or torture. They paid a great price for our security and prosperity. We are safe because they put themselves in harm’s way.
Jesus did the same. He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, NASB). Our security in Jesus exists now . . . and for all eternity. Jesus willingly laid down His life for us (John 10:18) so that we could be with Him forever (John 10:27-29) . . . so that our lives would be secure with Him for eternity.
Yes, I saw Jesus on Memorial Day. I saw Him in the love, honor, and sacrifice of our military personnel. Through their valiant efforts, the men and women in armed forces paint a powerful picture of Jesus.
Question: Do you know anyone in the armed forces? List their name at the Comment link below so we can pray for them. I will draw one of the names next Tuesday to receive a free copy of my book OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM, which is about finding and living with hope in the midst of life’s challenges.