A perfect loving sacrifice

Built on a Rock

During the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, passenger planes were flown into the twin towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon as the world watched in horror. United Airlines Flight 93 had also been hijacked and was speeding toward Washington, D.C.

Pilots of the 121st Fighter Squadron of the D.C. Air National Guard got the order to scramble jets and intercept the hijacked aircraft. Commander Mark Sasseville and Lieutenant Heather Penney were the first to scramble their jets. Knowing that there was not enough time to have their fighter jets armed with weapons to shoot down the remaining hijacked plane, Cmdr. Sasseville looked at Lt. Penney and said, “I’ll take the cockpit … you take the tail!”

It was virtually a suicide mission, but with the hope that they could successfully ram Flight 93, which they knew would result in the death of the passengers, along with themselves, but would possibly save hundreds more. To make matters worse, Lt. Penney’s father was a United Airlines pilot, and she had no idea if she would be ramming her own father’s plane.

They chose those impact spots hoping that it would minimize the debris field. A plane with no nose or tail would lose its forward momentum and likely fall straight out of the sky. Lt. Penney later recalled: “My concern was how do we minimize collateral damage on the ground.”

As it turned out, they never intercepted Flight 93 because the heroes on that doomed plane made sure they didn’t have to … and the rest is history.

When we hear of heroic stories like that, we marvel at the willingness to make such a sacrifice for the benefit of others.

However, the sobering truth is, even if the passengers had been successful in gaining control from the terrorists and landing safely at a nearby airfield, still … they all would’ve died … eventually … as all must do.

Sadly, death strikes all people, of all ages, of every nationality, because that’s what sin brings into our world.

The Apostle Paul made this abundantly clear that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and, “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 3:23, 6:23)  And no amount of good deeds, good intentions, or even a fleet of heavily armed fighter jets can save us from our doomed situation.

But seeing that we had no hope of ever saving ourselves, our gracious God scrambled into action his only Son who would bring salvation to mankind.

The plan included Jesus willingly taking his sinless life to the Cross, to shed his innocent blood, in order to cover all our sins. Christ became sin for us and sacrificed himself out of perfect love for all people. He gave up his life so that you and I can be free! Jesus paid the price that our sins demanded, and then gifted to us his life-saving forgiveness!

And three days later, just as he promised, Jesus rose back to life, thereby conquering death. With the Good News of Christ’s resurrection victory, comes the promise:  All who call upon his Name, in faith, receive the full forgiveness of all their sins, a new life now, and a heavenly life that lasts forever!

Jesus promises: “Because I live, you also shall live.” Trust in him and receive all the life he has to give!

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