(Jesus said) "...the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
I have never thrown a "live" hand grenade.
How's that for an opening line in a Daily Devotion? Well, I haven't and therefore I have to believe the experts when they tell me that the time between releasing the pin on the grenade and when it explodes is somewhere between four and five seconds.
Assuming the grenade is in the air for two seconds; that means, after it lands, there is, at most, three seconds before it detonates. I share that fact with you because such a live grenade landed on the Afghanistan rooftop where Marine Corporal William Kyle Carpenter happened to be standing in November of 2010.
Seeing that grenade, Corporal Carpenter had a number of choices to make, and he had to make them in a very short time. For example, he could have tried to pick up and throw that grenade back, or he might have tried to run away or find some sort of protection to shield himself from the blast.
He did none of those things.
No, Corporal Carpenter chose to throw himself on top of that grenade and take the explosion into his own body. It would have been a foolish thing to do, but he did have a good reason: Corporal Carpenter was selflessly trying to shield his friend, Nicholas Eufrazio, who was standing on that roof with him.
You can understand why Corporal Carpenter is receiving the Medal of Honor, the highest award this country can give to her military personnel.
More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, God's only Son and our only Savior, was born in Bethlehem. Unlike Corporal Carpenter, Jesus had had thousands of years to think about what He was going to do and what would happen after He entered this sin-sickened world. Unlike Corporal Carpenter, who survived that hand grenade's blast, Jesus knew His gracious act was going to cost Him His life. For Him there was to be no escape from a most painful death.
Even though He knew what was going to happen, Jesus still came. During His brief life He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah; He kept His Father's Laws perfectly. He resisted every temptation thrown in His path, and He carried our sins to His cross on Calvary.
In the most selfless act this world has ever seen, Jesus died so repentant hearts might be given saving faith in Him as Savior and Lord.
Sadly, instead of giving Jesus a medal, or a parade, or applause, much of the world has remained ungrateful and unappreciative. Indeed, in many places it has become fashionable to deny Him and His salvation story. For selfless acts soldiers should receive medals and Saviors should receive everlasting thanks and praise.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, "By grace God's Son, our only Savior, Came down to earth to bear our sin. Was it because of thine own merit, That Jesus died thy soul to win? Nay, it was grace, and grace alone, That brought Him from His heavenly throne" In Jesus' Name I give thanks for such grace. Amen. (The Lutheran Hymnal, "By Grace I'm Saved")
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries