April 28, 2008
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-but God shows His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 6-8
Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL, was in Iraq for five months.
During those five short months, Monsoor received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star. A few weeks ago at a solemn White House ceremony, the President of the United States gave Monsoor's proud and grieving family the Medal of Honor.
Monsoor's story is a dramatic one.
On September 29, 2006, he and some comrades were on the roof of a building in Ramadi, Iraq. His unit was trying to get rid of enemy fighters in a dangerous part of that city. From out of nowhere, a grenade hit Monsoor in the chest.
Monsoor could have gotten away, but he didn't. He chose to protect his comrades by covering the grenade with his body. He took the full force of the blast in his chest. For half an hour, Michael Monsoor lingered. Then, he died.
One of the soldiers whose life Monsoor saved said, "Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, 'You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.'"
I know one other Man who said the same thing.
Two thousand years ago, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was nailed to a Roman cross on a skull-shaped hill outside the city of Jerusalem. When death came, Jesus said, "You may take Me, but you cannot take My brothers and My sisters. I shall pay the price necessary for them to live."
Of course, there are differences between the heroic sacrifice of Michael Monsoor and our Savior. One died to save his friends; Jesus died to save those who hated Him. Michael was only able to save a few of his comrades, but the Savior has rescued all who believe on Him as their Redeemer. The soldiers Michael saved will eventually die, but Jesus gave His life so all who believe on Him might live forever.
And there is one other difference. For His sacrifice and resurrection, Jesus received no medal. The only appreciation and award He desires is the faith of thankful and redeemed hearts.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, Your sacrifice shows a love above all else. May I always show my appreciation for You, my Deliverer. May I always give thanks that You, upon the cross, said, "You may take Me, but you cannot take My brothers and sisters." In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries