Remembering and honoring Americans who have protected our country
Today is Memorial Day, the day we have established as a nation to honor our our veterans and our armed forces of today and yesterday. There have been hundreds of thousands of 'ordinary' service-people who deserve honor and recognition. But there have also been soldiers that deserve a higher recognition for their bravery and self-sacrifice for the cause of saving others. The excellent WW2 film "Hacksaw Ridge" portrays a superior example of such a soldier, Desmond Doss, who was Christ-like in several ways. First, because of his Christian faith and convictions he refused to use a gun or even touch one, yet he insisted on serving his country in the army as a medic. For this reason alone his division wanted to discharge him. Second, private Doss sacrificed his own life and single-handedly rescued 75 wounded soldiers from certain death when there was no one else who could have or would have. It was the highest form of fasting, not only because of the long periods of time he went without food but also because of his selflessness in the whole ordeal. Although Doss survived against all odds there have been thousands of others who didn't but whose heroic self-sacrifice we remember and honor today.
Here is the trailer: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2608248601/
On a day like today we rightly cherish and celebrate examples like this. Why? Because they reflect qualities displayed to the world by Jesus. What Desmond Doss did on Hacksaw Ridge was a profound emulation of what Jesus endured and accomplished during his extreme 40-day fast.
If you were on a 40-day 'fastathon'--in the barren desert--the last thing you'd need is an encounter with Satan. Yet that's exactly what happened to Jesus. Indeed, the wording of one text suggests that his demonic temptation was the very purpose of the wilderness experience (Matt. 4:1).
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
This would certainly exacerbate the difficulty of it, would it not? If you take it as truth, as I do, this narrative confirms the existence of personal evil that is the devil. Yet even if you don't, you share in the universal experience that on some days it feels like it. Yes, it is common to us all, part of our human condition. Whatever your beliefs about Jesus, and despite his other-worldly character and strength to endure, we see that temptation was part of his experience too, which is partly how Jesus could empathize with us so well. I draw great comfort from this.
"And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan." Mark 4:13 (Injeel) https://www.esv.org/Mark+1/
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