Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: Good Friday

He gave his life for others

Last Friday a young Muslim in France, inspired by jihadist propaganda on social media, was moved to action that he thought would glorify Allah. He hijacked a car, killing one man in the process, drove to Trèbes, a town of 5,000 in the south of France and ran into a supermarket shouting Allahu Akbar (God is great). He killed two more men in the supermarket and took a woman hostage.

The police were soon on the scene, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame. Colonel Beltrame left his weapons behind and entered the supermarket alone, determined to save lives by whatever means he could. He encountered the hostage taker, persuaded him to let the woman go with the promise that he would take her place. The woman, who was completely unknown to Colonel Beltrame, was released and then the attacker shot Colonel Beltrame. The police then rushed in and shot the attacker.

The parish priest of Arnaud Beltrame says that he was an irreligious man until he experienced a conversion seven years ago, His wife, now his widow, says that his devotion to his country and his fellow citizens cannot be separated from his devotion to God.

Arnaud Beltrame was given a state funeral on Wednesday in the courtyard of the cathedral of Les Invalides in Paris. President Emmanuel Macron delivered the eulogy, recounting the events of last Friday in order and saying the Arnaud Beltrame knew exactly what he was doing when he went calmly into the supermarket to face the attacker. He placed him in a long line of heros who have placed the lives and well-being of others ahead of their own and conferred on him the designation of Commander of the Legion of Honour. A religious funeral was held yesterday at Carcassone.

President Macron repeatedly referred to the clandestine threat posed by djihadist propaganda that circulates on social media and acts on the minds of the weak and unstable. Some of these who feel marginalized believe they can attain some sort of honour and glory by killing others in the name of Allah.

Colonel Beltrame was not seeking honour or glory, but acted with the intention of serving God and his fellow citizens by offering his life as a ransom for others. He will be remembered and perhaps his actions will inspire others.

This Good Friday, as we remember how our Saviour offered His life as a ransom for us all, may we contemplate the implications for ourselves of taking the way of the Cross.

The life is in the blood

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emanuel’s veins;
And sinners washing in that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
-William Cowper

Christianity is a messy, bloody religion. Some people find this repulsive and would prefer a neater, bloodless form of Christianity. But that is a lifeless Christianity — the life is in the blood.

The Old Testament law mentions several times that the life of all flesh is in the blood. Consider for a moment the many ways our life depends on the blood flowing through our veins. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell in our body. The blood also purifies the body, picking up minute quantities of waste throughout the body and carrying them away to be disposed of. The blood fights infection and disease, containing cells that seek out, destroy and remove invading cells that would harm our body. The blood stops bleeding and repairs wounds. We could not live without the things our blood does for us.

In a spiritual sense the blood of Jesus Christ does for us what the blood in our veins does for our natural body. It cleanses us from all sin and gives us life; it is the remedy for all spiritual diseases that war against the soul, the source of healing for the wounded soul.

Soon we will commemorate the resurrection of our Saviour. That is also vitally important for our spiritual life, but let us remember that we would have no life at all if it wasn’t for the blood.

Triumph in the cross

Jesus entered enemy territory when He came to earth, and He knew it. Satan and He had been adversaries since the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, asking her, “Did God really say you shouldn’t eat it? You must have misunderstood, it’s good for you.”

Since that time, Satan had opposed the work of God by every means at his disposal. Far too often he had been successful, yet his ultimate goal of proving God’s love for mankind to be a failure had been continually stymied. Now here was the Son. Satan’s thought was no doubt the same as the wicked husbandmen in Jesus’ parable: “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.”

Satan’s plan appeared to have succeeded. He stirred up the religious leaders to use desperate measures to eliminate the One whom they perceived to be a threat to their positions and authority. Jesus hung on the cross, His lefe ebbing away. Satan felt victory within his grasp. Then he heard the terrible words from the cross: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Terrible words for the enemy of our souls, but wonderful, life-giving words for all of us who by our sins were responsible for Jesus being nailed to the cross.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15)

%d bloggers like this: