With just seconds to react, the soldier throws his body on top of the live grenade. He dies, but by his death, he saves the lives of his friends.

While everyone else is running out, the firefighter runs into the burning building to save the lives of those who are trapped inside. Yet not every firefighter who runs in comes back out alive.

There are many men and women in our nation’s armed forces, and in the public service sector of our nation, who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect our freedoms and to keep the peace and order in our society. Some have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Each time I think of that, these words of Jesus come to mind, “This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12-13).

The soldier, who threw his body on the grenade, died protecting the lives of his friends. Yet he died protecting not only those men and women of his unit, he died fighting to protect many who he did not know and who would never know him.

When Jesus spoke these words, it was the night before he died. Jesus knew what was coming. He knew that the very next day he would lay down his life on the cross. As Jesus gave up his life, he died not just for his friends, but he died also for his enemies. He died for those who knew him and those who did not. He died not just for one nation, but for every nation. He died to save the world from sin. He gave his life because he “wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Each year as we celebrate Memorial Day, let us give thanks to God for those who died to protect our freedoms. Let it also be another reminder of the One who paid the ultimate sacrifice, not only for our peace and freedom now, but eternally. Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life to pay the price for our sins. There is no greater love than this. Let Jesus’ love for you guide the way you show love to one another.


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