Yesterday as I was driving to work I was listening to an essay written by a 17 year old girl about veterans. It was a powerful writing because it dared to enter into the brutal realites of those who have had to go off to war. It reminded me that those who have served our country, even if they survive, are truly never the same. There are scars, wounds, losses, lost friends, and haunting flashbacks that they continue to bear the rest of their days. It is impossible to do what they do and return back to normal as if nothing happened.
Jesus went to war against sin and death. He walked into a brutal camp of Roman soldiers and a mob that was taunting Him and crying out for His death. He endured sleeplessness, misery, taunting, physical pain after physical pain, and eventually death. Just like our veterans, Jesus will never be able to shake the scars of His war on sin. In fact, in God's final kingdom, we will all have new bodies that are perfect and free of scars and blemishes, except one person, Jesus Christ.
Forever, Jesus will bear the scars from that one day back in history when a roman soldier hammered nails through his feet and hands. He will forever bear the scar of a sword through His side. He will forever be seen as the 'Lamb, looking as if it had been slain' (Revelation 5:6). That is the cost of freedom. So maybe a gift we give to veterans and to Jesus is the gift of grateful lives. Let's not take the freedom they have fought to give us for granted. Let's live honorably and well. As it says in Philippians 1:27, "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.'