Every Generation has its significant moments…. 9/11, the assassination of JFK, MLK, Cambodia, D-Day, (Meusse)Argonne Forest, Concord Bridge, Midway, and Gettysburg, just to name a few. Each event holds significance to where we have been and how we got to this point in our history. When Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia, they wreaked havoc on the country. They removed hundreds of thousands of people from the cities into forced labor, established a class war, and systematically executed anyone who even appeared to be educated. Their purpose was to remove the memory of significant moments in history that anchor a countries identity; thereby, erasing where they had been to create a new society in the image of one man.
Gettysburg stands as a significant moment… a turning point in our history, which determines our direction as a nation… Would we continue as “One nation under God,’ or would we live divided by our own selfish ambitions? More than 650,000 people would give their lives to answer that question; of that number, 51,000 died in a small town in Pennsylvania. When the national cemetery was dedicated in Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln was asked to make a few remarks. On November 19, 1863, he gave a speech that lasted less than 5 minutes; but which Senator Charles Sumner referred to as “the most famous speech ever given by Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called the Gettysburg Address a “monumental act.” He said Lincoln was mistaken that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” Rather, Sumner remarked, “The world noted at once what he said and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.”
President Lincoln proclaimed that day, “Four score and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
Lincoln goes on to state a most significant point, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
What President Lincoln proclaims here alludes to a far more significant moment in human history with greater impact and much more critical consequences. Some 5,866 miles away and 1830 years earlier, a father walked his Son up a hill to fight a battle on a cross as “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
And, Just as “we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate or hallow, the ground those brave men, who struggled at Gettysburg, consecrated with their blood… far above our poor power to add or detract; Jesus, the Lamb of God, consecrated salvation for us, by His blood, that we could never establish for ourselves. For; Though he was God, Jesus did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave, And was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God; And died a criminal’s death on a cross… In our place…
God’s extraordinary plan of redemption unfolds in “significant moments,” starting in the Garden, where man’s need for a Savior is first revealed, and the first bloody death of an innocent victim occurs. Then on Mount Moriah, a ram takes the place of the first-born Son of Abraham and Sarah, revealing God as both the just and the justifier. In Egypt, where the destroyer is released to receive a debt from every sinner, only those covered over by the lamb’s blood are redeemed. Then at Calvary, where Jesus dies, a more profound deliverance is revealed for the spiritual need of every human being who ever lives…
On the night Jesus was betrayed, he stood up as the officiator of the Passover meal; and instead of stating the customary, “this is the bread of our affliction that our ancestors suffered in the wilderness so we would be free;” Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and presented it to them, stating, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
The Only Begotten Son of God signified that His suffering would be the ultimate liberation for all mankind. His death is the significant moment and the central act in the whole story of the lamb. His sacrifice provides our salvation, having satisfied the perfect wrath of God towards all sin. When Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me,” In God’s silence, He paid the debt that sets us free from sin and death. God’s Son substituted Himself for all mankind; from Adam, through Isaac and Israel, to you and me… In this significant moment, it does us good to remember Paul’ words to Titus:
“At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But “IN ONE SIGNIFICANT MOMENT,” the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are significant, excellent, and profitable for everyone.” (Titus 3: 5-8)
With an ear to Lincoln’s words, a message grounded in Christ’s significant sacrifice, “It is for us the living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God, to be dedicated now to the finished work of Jesus, who fought for us on the cross, the very moment in time where He so nobly advanced our redemption. It is now for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that we take increased devotion to that cause for which Christ gave the last full measure of His devotion — that we here highly resolve that He shall not have died in vain, a bloody death as an innocent victim – and more so, Since Jesus is resurrected, ascended, and sits now at the right hand of the Father; that we to live the life of Christ, by faith, in obedience to scripture, and to the Glory of His name…
Because of His humility and sacrifice, God, elevated Jesus to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
To the glory of God the Father.
Now that is one significant moment that we should all desire to remember.
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church
Think About This: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” ―