Believers should honor America’s military veterans on Memorial Day. Yet worshiping the greatest war hero Who will ever live must be the number one priority.
Citizens of the United States, on what we call Memorial Day, have a wonderful opportunity to remember their country’s millions of sacrificial veterans and thank those currently sacrificing on active military duty. And as one of those very citizens, I shall take advantage right now of the opportunity to publicly thank and remember my parents for serving in the United States Air Force (USAF). It’s actually how they met!
I’m proud of my Dad especially, who enlisted straight out of high school, and just retired as a Senior Master Sergeant a couple years ago. He specialized in sheet metal and corrosion prevention, working primarily on the planes that transported our paratroopers to their designated combat zones. He served overseas many times in Central America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His career instilled in me a strong appreciation for our nation, and the armed forces who drop sweat, blood, and tears year after year doing the jobs they’ve enlisted to do. My family, like many others, has a fairly extensive military history. Several other relatives of mine have served in various capacities; one of my younger cousins is actually deployed in Afghanistan at the time of this writing, and I’m thankful for him. I simply chose not to follow this path, but I’m deeply grateful for how God has used my relatives to defend the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Americans really do enjoy wonderful political and religious freedoms thanks to our veterans, and likely often take them for granted. No other people live under a system of laws and rights that are so strongly protected. The current political scene in the U.S. may make that seem debatable, but by global comparison the American people are still truly spoiled.
Nonetheless, the point of life is not to ensure that we live comfortably under a respectable system of government backed by a superior military.
As John Piper is often quoted, “the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” That is the point, but the key is that it isn’t possible to do either of those things without having spiritual freedom. Yes, we should hold our veterans near and dear in our hearts and appreciate our nation’s heritage. Yet as believers, we have the unique privilege this Memorial Day to meditate upon and exalt the greatest war hero Who will ever live. And with all due respect, our veterans don’t hold a candle to Him. He is all-powerful. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Alpha and the Omega. His name is Jesus Christ. Christians across the United States will do well to have this firmly in mind as the burgers are grilling and fellowship is enjoyed on May 26, 2014.
Jesus Christ, in coming to Earth, declared war on the gates of hell and the bondage of humanity to sin. He did this in spite of that very humanity, the pinnacle of His creation, being at conscious war with Him! What a paradox! God in the flesh came to battle and unquestionably conquer the terrible problem that humanity brought upon itself (which was choosing to rebel against Him), and He did so knowing that it would require the loving, voluntary laying down of His own life. Christ didn’t crush Satan as a five-star general that we would merely salute. Again, paradoxically, He did so as a humiliated, crucified, ultimately spiritually-forsaken servant that we deemed stricken and unimpressive.
In all realms of human logic, this would be considered a failure. Yet it was everything but; Jesus Christ is at God’s right hand, and will be the King and Lord that all people bow before someday! For a king to take His seat on an eternally-glorious throne in this way again does not jive with any realm of human logic, but that is how it will be! It doesn’t have to make sense because Jesus Christ is God. It’s His plan; He can carry it out as He pleases. The all-powerful God-man could have painlessly and justifiably crushed all of us His enemies, but instead He gave His life so we could be at peace with Him, the peace we truly need. Hallelujah for this great salvation!
It only adds to this already-glorious story that Jesus is alive and coming back soon…first to take up His church to Himself, and eventually once more as the righteous Judge that no five-star or one-hundred star general could ever begin to oppose. Where the United States’ armed forces carries out its missions with elaborate and seemingly-devastating weaponry, Jesus Christ needs only to speak to annihilate His enemies, and that is what He will do. Words can not describe what it will be like to witness all this and participate in it as His saints ironically without so much as lifting a finger!
If you’ve received Jesus Christ as personal Savior, you are on the right side, the side that has won. If you have not, you need to understand the gravity of what you’re facing (i.e. God’s just, eternal wrath).
Thus, on this Memorial Day, by all means celebrate our military veterans and those on active duty. Honor their sacrificial lives. But more importantly, remember to honor and worship the omnipotent Savior that went before you in the war against sin and death and took care of business. Because of Him, you will surely emerge victorious! Faith is the victory!