March 28, 2023
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French beaches! You say that and most people might think about like a vacation that would be nice. Well, not when the Western world remembered a major anniversary that happened on French beaches on D-Day. I remember, for example, the 50th anniversary. For several days American media bombarded us, and we couldn't forget it. Something else happened on French beaches - the heroic battle to establish an allied beachhead in France and to push back the darkness of Hitler's madness.
I mean there's a whole generation who knew next to nothing about what might be the most significant military victory in the 20th century. And they don't know about it until there's an anniversary celebration of that event. But when we see some of the films - and we did then - boys barely out of high school storming the shore in the face of deadly German fire and many who died before they even hit the beach. We saw some of the veterans who survived. We heard their stories of buddies who are buried there. We saw the tears in the eyes of some pretty tough, old guys. And those of us who watched? Well, I think we were touched ourselves.
It was President Clinton - when the 50th anniversary took place - where he spoke that day. And he, of course, part of a generation who knew relatively little about D-Day but whose freedom was in a sense really paid for there. And on that day, the President seemed almost to choke up sometimes when he spoke; especially when he spoke in the American cemetery near Omaha Beach. He was speaking to a lot of veterans of that bloody battle, and one phrase of that speech still sticks out in my mind. Looking at those who risked everything on D-Day, those who gave everything, the President said these words, "We are the children of your sacrifice."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Day You Know How Loved You Are."
When you realize the high price paid on D-Day it's hard to remain unmoved. Did you know something similar happened 2,000 years ago on the day God's Son died on the cross? It happened to a soldier, a man in charge of the execution of Jesus Christ. We're about to hear remarkable words considering that they are coming from a hardened executioner.
In Mark 15:19, the man in charge of the execution - Listen to what he says, "And when the centurion who stood there in front of Jesus heard His cry and saw how He died, he said, 'Surely this man was the Son of God.'" This soldier was melted by the sacrifice of the Son of God. This was no ordinary man dying this criminal death. This was the only Son of God.
This soldier had seen a lot of death, so what moved him? Crucifixion was nothing new to him. Let's stand for a moment and listen to what he heard Jesus saying at that cross. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Well, he'd heard everything from a cross: curses, and screams, complaining, but he had never heard the word "forgive." And Jesus was forgiving those responsible for His death. That centurion must have been thinking, "He's forgiving me." He was forgiving you and me too, because it was our sin that put Jesus there.
Then he heard Jesus say, "Today you will be with Me in paradise." And here he realized that this was a man who cares about the person who needs Him, even in His own darkest hour. And he said, "This Jesus must have the power to take people to heaven." He does, including you. And then he heard Jesus cry, "It is finished!" He didn't lose! He won as He died. Mission accomplished! The death penalty for our sin fully paid in that moment; the hell we deserve can be traded for the heaven we don't deserve if we put our trust in this One and only Savior. We're the children of His sacrifice.
If you know Jesus personally, you should have one objective with the people around you who don't know Him. And that is to bring them to this cross. And if you're not sure you know Christ, God's bringing you to the foot of His Son's cross right now. Will you put all your trust in Him, or are you going to ignore this love and this sacrifice?
Are you ready to begin a relationship with Him? That's what our website's all about. Would you please go there? It's ANewStory.com. How can you say "no" to the One who loves you so very much?