In all my historical research, I’m always stumbling upon accounts of people sacrificing for others. I really love those kind of stories. Stories like Harriet Tubman risking her life to return to the South to help free other slaves. Or Corrie ten Boon who risked her life to hide Jews after the Nazi invasion of Holland.
I even like reading about modern day heroes such as the one during the crash of Air Florida Flight 90. In 1982 after a particularly snowy day full of flight delays at the Washington National Airport, the Air Florida jet was given clearance to depart. It only flew about one mile before it stalled and slammed into the 14th Street Bridge, crashing into vehicles and crushing the bridge.
As the jet plunged through the ice covered Potomac River, it broke apart and disappeared into the river. Some of the surviving passengers managed to wrangle free of the plane but were trapped in the frigid water.
Fortunately not long after the crash, a rescue helicopter came to the scene and began to lower life preservers and attempt to draw survivors to shore. When the helicopter threw a life-ring to 50 year old Arland Williams, he immediately gave it to the passenger next to him. When the ring came to him the next time, he passed it off again. And again. When his turn finally came, he’d already gone under the water, having used his last ounce of strength to save others.
I can’t say that I’ve ever accomplished any heroic sacrifices on the scale of Harriet Tubman, Corrie ten Boon, or Arland Williams. I haven’t even come close.
Of course, as a mom of five children I’ve had plenty of opportunities to sacrifice for my children. Like the autumn morning when I took my kids hiking at the Nature Center and my youngest son happened to step upon a hornet’s nest buried under the ground. In an instant his chatter turned to screams of anguish and fright. When I glanced at him and saw him covered from head to toe with hornets, I raced to him, picked him up, and ran with him all the while beating the hornets off his body with my bare hands.
I would have taken every single one of his bites in his place. That’s what we do for those we love. We’re willing to sacrifice for them, right?
But sacrifice for complete strangers? That’s much harder to do, isn’t it?
It reminds me of another sacrifice by a man who liked helping the poor, the hurting, and the sick. He made a lot of enemies in high places because of his refusal to do things the “politically correct” way.
Eventually he was betrayed by one of his closest friends and turned over to his enemies. The enemies trumped up charges against him, had a fake trial, and then brutally put him to death.
The funny thing about the whole incident was that the man didn’t have to die. His father was the King. This prince could have called a legion of warriors to his side to defend his rights.
But he chose not to save himself.
He chose to sacrifice himself instead.
He did it to save complete strangers. Without this sacrifice of the innocent King’s son, all humanity had been doomed. But the one ultimate sacrifice made a way for everyone to be rescued from the powers of evil and darkness.
That man’s name was Jesus Christ.
And he died on Good Friday.
Praying that you all have a blessed Good Friday and a joyous Easter!
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