Greater love has no one than this,
that one lay down his life for his friends.
You are My friends if you do what I command you.
– John 15:13
One moment, the street was filled with the laughter and cheers of the crowd as they soaked in the festive atmosphere of Patriot Day.
The next, lives were blown apart in an attack that would kill, maim, and strike fear in a nation.
The graphic images have replayed over and over the airwaves. Cameras everywhere caught the chaos as people screamed and ran for their lives. In the mayhem, a few scenes stand out: a mournful bunch of yellow balloons floating heavenward; a runner checking her watch to see her time moments as she crossed the finish line after the blast; people scattering.
And perhaps the most touching: everyday heroes running into the horrific scene to help the victims.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, stories are surfacing of the sacrifice and courage of bystanders who ran to assist the hurting. Though the area was not yet safe and no one knew if there were more bombs, these people laid their lives on the line to help the wounded.
Self-preservation is a natural instinct, and a strong one.
“Skin for skin,” Satan told God, “Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.” (Job 2:4) We admire the selfless actions of those who risk death for others.
It’s easy to understand when innocent lives are involved, as were the bystanders caught in the blast.
Our hearts go out to them; we rush without thinking to the rescue.
It’s another thing to willingly put our lives on the line for those who purposely destroy themselves.
And yet, God did that for us. He chose to enter this world when it was in full rebellion against Him. He set aside all the privileges of His royalty and wore the rags of a slave. He endured scorn, abuse, rejection, and death. He did it for us. When anyone else would have run from the bleeding mass of humanity, God ran to us. Delivering us cost Him everything.
He did it for the pure joy of giving His life away–to us, His beloved, undeserving friends.
Now He calls us to the battlefield. When everyone else is running from disaster, we are called to run toward it. We will not be crouched in our bunkers with dehydrated food and bottled water when our enemies hit. We will be on the front lines, rescuing the wounded and freeing the captives.
Laying down our lives for our friends.