The High Cost of Freedom
This week's focus: Liberty and Freedom
While on vacation, I visited a memorial in Hamilton, Montana, dedicated to military veterans. In honor of those who paid the ultimate price, a monument was inscribed with the following reminder:
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount of "up to and including their life."
Along with the monument, multiple walls of remembrance displayed the names of men and women who laid down their lives to purchase the freedoms we celebrate today. Memorials and monuments are necessary because we must remember the past when we get too comfortable in the present.
In honor of Memorial Day, I believe bringing attention to members of the military recognized in God's word is also fitting. The Bible mentions several Roman centurions in the New Testament. These professional military officers commanded a platoon of troops called a "century." They were appointed as centurions by virtue of their courage, character, and aptitude in battle and were expected to lead their soldiers on the front lines.
In the seventh chapter of Luke, we meet a Roman centurion who has the distinct honor of having a faith so strong that it amazed even Jesus; "Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith" (Luke 7:9). What an honor to have this praise documented in God's word as a memorial to future generations.
During the crucifixion, a group of soldiers stood guard led by a Roman centurion. They realized this was no ordinary man when they witnessed the circumstances immediately following Jesus' death. The centurion spoke words of truth when he proclaimed, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:39, Matthew 27:54).
Possibly the most significant Roman centurion mentioned in the Bible is a man named Cornelius, who the Bible describes as a "devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually" (Acts 10:1-2). The Bible records that his prayers ascended as a memorial before God. In response, God sent an angel to Cornelius in a vision, preparing him to meet Peter. When Peter arrived, he explained that God wanted Him to evangelize both Gentiles and Jews. Cornelius was saved after Peter obediently shared the gospel with him becoming one of the first non-Jews brought to faith in Christ. The message was for all who trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord!
Today, may we remember the high cost of freedom and be thankful we, as believers, are free from the power and penalty of sin and are promised eternity with Him.
by: Jennifer McAlister for My Faith Votes
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
Pray: Dear Jesus, we praise You for laying down Your life so that we can live eternally with You. It is because of Your sacrifice that we are free. On this Memorial Day help us to remember the high cost of freedom paid for by brave men and women who choose to defend our freedoms by writing a check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount of "up to and including their life."
Think: "Perhaps you and I have lived with this miracle too long to be properly appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not our by inheritance, it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people." - Ronald Reagan
Act: Here are just a few ideas for you to honor Memorial Day: Place flowers, flags, or wreaths at a local or military cemetery. Attend a Memorial Day parade or service. Fly a flag at your home. Take a moment of silence at 3 pm, local time, for the National Moment of Remembrance. Pray for our nation. Share with younger generations why today is important.