John 15:3 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Last night I watched Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly interview three young men who became heroes when they stopped a terrorist on a French passenger train. The three friends, Airman First Class Spencer Stone, National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, and college senior Anthony Sadler, did not hesitate to take action when a man with a gun threatened the safety of passengers.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And those young men were willing to do that. But they, in their humility, don’t see it that way. They believe they acted to save themselves, and, therefore, were not heroic. But they knew they could die and faced the danger. Their actions show they had others in mind. After the terrorist was subdued, Alek took the gun and searched the rest of the train to make sure there were no more terrorists and the other passengers were safe. Spencer saved the life of an injured man by clamping his artery to stop blood flow, even when he was suffering with his own injures. Anthony followed his friends into action and supported them by doing what needed to be done—reassuring Spencer about his own injuries and manning the medical kit to help care for the injured passenger. All their actions speak to concern for others, not just themselves. There is no question that they are heroes.
People are quick to recognize heroic actions of those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others, and yet they fail to recognize, or reject, the One who made the Ultimate Sacrifice for us—Jesus.
The world has been under attack since Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan rules over this world; and hence, we have terrorists. But Satan’s power has already been defeated by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Through His death and resurrection, He conquered the enemy. Jesus’ power—the power that raised Him from the dead—has been given to His people.
Satan’s power is limited. Satan’s terror can only flourish when people allow him access. His rule over this world will be forever destroyed when Jesus returns to earth. In the meantime, God’s power through Jesus rests with believers who exercise it.
And that’s what those three young men did on that train. They had a Divine Appointment. They used their God-given talents and abilities, and God supplied the rest. As Alek said in the interview, there were six or seven things that, had they been different, would have changed the positive outcome. The most significant of these things was that the terrorist’s Ak-47 didn’t go off when he pointed right at Spencer, the first young man to reach and subdue the terrorist. Alek noticed later, when he picked up the rifle, that the pin hadn’t fired. Coincidence?
Is it coincidence that these three friends were on that train? Is it coincidence that two had military training and one had medical training? Is it coincidence that the gunman’s weapon didn’t fire, which at close range would have undoubtedly killed Spencer? I don’t believe in coincidences. This was a Divine Appointment.
God, who sent Jesus to earth to save mankind, daily intervenes in our lives. Those of us who are Christians should be ready to be God’s vehicles of power when the need arises. It may not come to subduing a terrorist, but there are opportunities every day to be God’s hands and feet in this world. Until He returns to this earth physically, we are His instruments of power and action.
May we all be potential heroes.