Saturday, January 13, 2007

Give It Up!

The local news has run a few segments recently on heroes... real life life-savers. One story was about a man in NY City. He threw himself into the path of an oncoming subway train to save the life of another man, who; fell onto the tracks while having a seizure. The other story involved a state highway worker that pulled his "crash pad" truck into the path of an oncoming semi on the interstate. His vehicle absorbed enough of the impact, before it was pushed over an embankment, to save the life of a state trooper, who was also rear-ended in collision. Both of these heroes said they simply were responding to human need. I find it astounding as I just can't think that fast.

I know, you're probably thinking he is going to give me a metaphor for Christ giving His life for our sin. No, if you're reading this blog, then you probably know all about that. If you have ever been in a Christian church, then you have most likely heard that Christ died for our sins. My point today (When I studied homiletics I learned that you need a point.) is much different then that. I wonder how we would respond to laying our life down for another; for the Lord. 1 John 3:16 "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

When you ponder your Christianity, do you ever think that you might lose your life? The thought of giving up our lives to martyrdom seems scary and foreign. At least it does to me. I am glad that we don't live in a society where death is seen in the street on a day-to-day basis. I guess what amazes me is this. Some other religions seem to easily embrace the concept of martyrdom. Just one look at the news in Iraq, or the West Bank, will illustrate just how willing the other team is to give up their lives for their god and their religion. We call it radical and crazy! Honestly; is it really foreign to Christianity, this martyrdom principal? I am sure we are all aware of the persecution that was leveled against the early Christians. But we are more civilized then that now. I am not so sure. Here is the story of a radical believer.

Acts 7:54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul (Paul). 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Putting out lives on the line changes the whole game, don't you think?

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