Romans 5:6-7 – You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. (NIV)
In Aurora, Colorado, USA, on Friday, July 20, 2012, violence leaped from the movie screen into the audience in the form a demented shooter clad in body armour. Gunfire thudded into innocent people during the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. Twelve people died on scene, one a six-year-old girl. Her mother fights for her own life in a Colorado hospital. Reportedly at least 59 others were wounded, some critically. The death toll may darkly rise.
Emerging from this horrific event, heroes posthumously appeared. At least three men heroically threw their bodies in front of others. Two gave their lives to protect their friends. Others, now in hospital, took a bullet for someone else. Powerless to stop the attack, they chose to use their own bodies to shield loved ones.
Such carnage stunned, yet captivated me, gluing me to my television. As I watched from the safety of my rocking chair, I shook my head, baffled by such senseless violence. I prayed for the victim's families and for those recovering from a trauma that will haunt them for years. I wondered what I would have done. No one really knows until faced with a horrible experience.
There was One who knew what He was going to do from early childhood. This Hero above all heroes also gave His life for others. Unlike most who make such a sacrifice, He did it not only for those who knew Him; He did it for folk whom He never met and even for His enemies — people who would spit in His face and nail Him to a cross on another Friday 2000 years ago. His name is Christ Jesus.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)
If we've ever felt powerless, Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He threw Himself in front of the devil's weapons to save us. He took the shot meant for us so that we would be able to live a full life — an eternal life. Christ Jesus died for us. He was similar to the heroes of Colorado, but with these differences: 1. His life was perfect and sinless, the only adequate sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin. 2. Sadly they are gone, but Jesus still lives, because He rose from the dead. So how do we respond?
Those spared by the Colorado heroes publicly expressed their gratitude. They praised their friends, and some thanked God for sparing their lives. I think their response is a very appropriate one for us, too.
When we come to realize exactly what Jesus did for us — how He saved us — gratitude is an excellent response. Praising God for saving us through Christ from a fate worse than death is an appropriate thing to do. We can respond by simply praying a prayer that goes something like this.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I confess that I'm powerless in the face of evil's shots. Thank You for sacrificing Yourself to save my life. I totally depend on You to keep me eternally safe, and I give You all the praise and thanks, Amen.