When I was in Melbourne last year I went to the Shrine of Remembrance, it was a solemn experience for me, as I walked amongst the memorials and recounted the history of those who served and gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy today. I was touched, deeply touched, and this was forcefully rammed home when I went into the heart of the shrine. In the very centre of that building, etched on a marble plaque are the words “Greater love hath no man.” And on the 11th of November every year at 11 a.m., Remembrance Day, a ray of sunlight shines through an aperture in the roof which shines on the plaque, lighting up the word “Love” on the inscription. The words “Greater love hath no man” are words spoken by none other than Jesus Himself. Sometimes words can be cheap, they casually escape from our lips and we don’t comprehend the depth of what we’re saying, even what we’re hearing. But when someone comes to you and speaks from the depth of their experience it is compelling. Compelling, because they have been there. They know what it is like, and they know what they are talking about. Regarding sacrifices, God knows what sacrifice is all about. For the greatest sacrifice that has ever been made is the one that was made 2000 years ago on an Old Rugged Cross. Jesus came, bled and died. As He hung on that cross it was as if a ray of light shone down on this fallen world revealing what ‘love’ really was. Truly “Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13.
And just as that ray of light shines down through the roof of the Shrine of Remembrance, illuminating that solitary word ‘love.’ I remind you here today that all of heaven came down in the person of Jesus Christ. He was “life, and His life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” John 1:4-5. In other words, heaven’s ‘darling,’ God’s own Son, wilfully came to a world that He knew would reject Him. But He came anyway, why? Because the “Father Himself loves you.” As Jesus hung on that cross all those years ago a great darkness covered the land, demonstrating that the Son, God’s beloved, was forsaken. He breathes His last, dies, is taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. It all appeared to be over. But then came resurrection, when the darkness was driven away by the brightness of resurrection morning, when Jesus came forth from His tomb alive. Death could have no hold on Him.
Take hope today friends, Jesus’ resurrection makes our resurrection sure. On ANZAC day we remember the sacrifices of those who have given us the freedoms that we enjoy today. They didn’t know us, but still they gave. They gave all that they had, their youth, hopes and dreams, that we might have futures, hopes and dreams. Why? Because, “Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
Lest we forget