Every country is built on the men and women who give their lives in its service. Our country particularly has millions of people who have given not just their time and effort but also their physical lives to provide and protect the liberty we enjoy. For me, one of the most patriotic moments of my life was when I stepped onto the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery and saw row after row of men and women who had given their lives for this great nation.
Each one of these graves was a life given to our nation, a sacrifice to liberty, and a martyr to a higher calling. Not one of these people, though, marched into battle with the purpose of dying. By joining the military these men knew the commitment they were making, but even with death as a possible outcome, they did not go and fight in order to die. A military that sends it soldiers to die is a military that loses wars.
Over the past month at Western Heights Baptist Church we have looked at the steps Jesus took on his way to the cross. The central question in our series is “who killed Jesus?” This coming Sunday we come to our conclusion. Jesus was more than a casualty of war. He is more than a life taken in the fight against evil. Jesus Christ came not to fight and give his life if necessary; He came with the purpose of giving His life. Though Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Peter, soldiers, a crowd, and every sinner played a part in the death of Jesus, He is not a casualty of ours. Jesus Christ willingly and deliberately came to earth for the purpose of dying on the cross, resurrecting from the dead, and conquering death. He did it not because we forced Him into death but because he loves mankind to the degree that He gave himself for us.
Our savior is not a casualty of war; He was and is a willing sacrifice given to us as an eternal gift.