Few of us will ever see the kind of courage it takes for one person to willingly expose himself to extreme danger to save others. Imagine the love, respect, and gratitude one must feel for a heroic companion. That would be a lifelong and life-changing appreciation.
Today it’s hard to find many examples of selfless and sacrificial love. The Me Generation has turned into the It’s All About Me Generation; and if we aren’t careful, even our churches can become consumer centers where everyone wants his or her own style of worship or programs.
Rare is the person who chooses serving over being served. The Bible says, “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). And Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep…. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself” (John 10:11,18).
We were all dead men and women at one time. But one man stood up and stretched out His arms to save us. Jesus died with outstretched arms. It was our Lord’s way of saying “I Love You This Much,” of embracing the entire world and reaching out for you and me.
In London, in St. Paul’s Cathedral, is a statue, a huge portrayal of Jesus Christ twisting in anguish on the cross, intense pain on His face and blood dripping down His body. Underneath is a plaque reading: “This is how God loved the world.”
If only it were as real to us as it should be!
A man named Gwan Garrison became involved in witchcraft and the occult. One day he found a ticket on his desk to a drama called “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” He was surprised when he pulled into a church parking lot and realized it was a passion play.
Nevertheless he went in and sat on the back pew thinking he could make a quick getaway if he wanted. But the play was excellent and he sat riveted. Suddenly the character of Jesus was dragged down the aisle right beside Garrison and out of the room to be scourged, the sound of which filled the auditorium. Every time the whip struck the back of Jesus, Garrison felt a sharp pain in his chest that moved down his arm.
Suddenly the doors swung open and Jesus stood there wearing a crown of thorns. He took three steps and fell in the aisle right in front of Garrison’s pew and looked up into his eyes, with blood dripping down his forehead, and said, “I did this for you.”
“Goose bumps ran down my spine,” Garrison testified. “I didn’t know how to respond. He was speaking directly to me like He’d known me forever.”
Later, after the scenes of crucifixion and resurrection, the pastor said, “If you’re hurting in your heart tonight, I want to pray for you. Please raise your hand.” With pain running from his heart down his arm, Garrison didn’t hesitate.
“I don’t remember how I got to the altar when the invitation was given,” he said. “I just remember kneeling with the pastor. After a moment, he looked me in the eye and said, ‘I’ve never felt the presence of evil like I feel in you tonight. I sense that Satan completely controls you. If you want to be set free from the pain you’re feeling, Jesus can set you free.'”
Garrison prayed for Jesus to come into his heart with all His love and forgiveness, and the pain immediately left. Returning home, he destroyed his satanic paraphernalia and today preaches the love of God in a church in Bettstown, Georgia.1
Can you visualize the love of Jesus, as though He were looking into your eyes, stretching out His arms, and saying, “I did this for you”?
Have you received His love?
He doesn’t want a Medal of Honor; He wants your heart.