Two men and two donkeys
April 25, 1915 was the day that the Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) military contingent first landed on a wild and savage beach in Turkey now known as ANZAC Cove. Every year, on this same date, Australians and New Zealanders celebrate ANZAC Day, remembering the thousands of men and women who have courageously fought for their country’s freedom.
We remember people like Jack Simpson, a young English merchant seaman who became an Aussie legend. In 1914, as a 22 year old immigrant, Jack enlisted into the Australian Army and before the end of April 1915 found himself on the shores of Gallipoli, Turkey. Although Jack never fired a single shot during the mere 24 days he was in Gallipoli, he is remembered for his courage under fire – rescuing 300 of his wounded fellow soldiers by placing them on his faithful donkey and leading them to safety. He lost, one might even say ‘gave’, his life whilst saving others.
It is always hard to understand why people die in war or in any other tragic circumstance. It’s even harder to understand why people who selflessly serve others should die in the process.
There is another man we remember every year for giving his life to save others. He too, was accompanied by a donkey on a fateful journey. The name of that man is Jesus Christ and we remember his death at Easter every year. As we have just recently done.
We do well to remember and be grateful for people like Jack Simpson. But we do better to remember the man Jesus Christ who lived and died to save us from eternal death. The reason? Because whilst both Jack Simpson and Jesus Christ died in saving others, Jesus Christ was not just a good man, he was and is the Son of God. Jesus conquered death for himself and for every human being who believes and trusts in him, by coming back to life after he was killed. Whilst Jack died saving his courageous compatriots, those fighting alongside him for freedom; Jesus gave up his life for us while we were his enemies. Unlike Jack, Jesus still lives and still saves from eternal death all those who believe and trust in him.
If we believe what the Bible says, we can trust God because even though he is totally sovereign, he willingly gave his only son Jesus Christ to die a torturous death as a perfectly innocent man, to save all of us from eternal death. Even though as human beings we cannot fully understand many (or even any) reasons why suffering and death happen in this world, we can choose to believe and trust God because he demonstrated his own love for us in the giving up to death his only son in order to save us.
It’s hard to trust a person until they show they are trustworthy. God has already shown us that he is trustworthy by what he did for us. Even in the midst of the most difficult conflicts and tragic circumstances God calls us to trust him. Will you?
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, although for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7
To find out more about trusting God and doing good, read Chapter 3 of The Peacemaker (Ken Sande).
(Over this year, through each edition of Peace it together, we will be share the basic peacemaking principles as covered in each chapter of the book, The Peacemaker (by Ken Sande).)