“Greater love has no one than this: that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Often when a soldier gives his life in battle, it is said that he made “the ultimate sacrifice.” Humanly speaking, that is true. A man can give no more than his life. This Memorial Day, Americans should pause to remember those who made that ultimate sacrifice for us, that we might enjoy the freedoms that we do.
But we should also realize that the sacrifices that each of these men and women made on our behalf is a picture of an even greater sacrifice: the sacrifice made by the Son of God, when He died on the cross to redeem us from our sins. That sacrifice must stand above every other as “THE ultimate”: God the Son Himself, leaving His throne of glory, to humble Himself and become a man, and die on the cross, bearing the wrath of God the Father that we should have rightly borne for our sins, that we might be forgiven and eternally saved. No other sacrifice compares to that one.
This fact does not diminish the costs paid for us by those who, from a human perspective, bought our earthly freedom and well-being. Rather it serves to honor these brave ones, framing their actions on our behalf as the highest kind of human love and honor; worthy of presenting to the world a picture of what Jesus did for us. Let us remember their “ultimate sacrifices” today — and also let them point us anew to “THE Ultimate Sacrifice” which bought our eternal freedom.