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Heroes Unaware

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Posted: 9/3/15 at 9:52am. Column by Ed Jordan.

Recently we witnessed an amazing event. A train full of people was heading for Paris, France, when a terrorist came on board with numerous weapons and the intent of murdering unsuspecting people riding on the train.

As the noise of a weapon being loaded registered in the ears of an alert American, the American tourist and his two fellow travelers jumped into action. They rushed the terrorist, took the gun away, and then another gun away, and finally his last weapon, a box-cutter.

The three men were also aided by two other persons, one of whom was also an American from Virginia who was living and teaching in Europe. The other was from Britain. The five people tied up the terrorist until he was turned over to the French authorities.

The three American friends were given the French Medal of Honor the next day by the President of France.  Today they are heroes and are headline news around the world. Their lives changed in one day as they went from unknown tourists to world-renowned heroes.

Some would say that heroes are people who are in the right place at the right time…

The interesting thing about heroes is that they are ordinary people who do not set out to purposely become heroes. They are people who respond heroically at a time of crisis. Some would say that heroes are people who are in the right place at the right time, and yet there were many people on that train at that time and at that place.

The hero element is that a few of the people on the train quickly assessed what was happening, set aside their own safety, and ran to deal with an dangerous situation in order to try to save the lives of others.

So heroes are not merely people in the right place at the right time, but also people who decide to take the right action to save the lives of others at the right time. They are people who risk their own lives to save the lives of others.

In America, we have many people who fulfill the roll of heroes, day in and day out. Many of these people live heroic lives as a part of their occupation. Police officers frequently put their lives at risk in order to save the lives of others.

Often the people being saved have no idea that others risked their lives, or perhaps even gave their lives, to save them. Firefighters also put their lives at risk to save the lives of others, as do those who serve in our military.

But are people still heroes even though they go unnoticed, or have no ceremony celebrating their accomplishments? What do you think?

In Hebrews chapter 11 there is a list of heroes who are remembered for their faith in God, and for the risks that they took in order to bring the saving message of God to others, or to literally save the lives of others.

One of these was a prostitute named Rahab. A lot of people who are quick to ridicule Christians would be shocked to realize that such a person would be listed among the heroes of Biblical faith. The list in that chapter describes ordinary people who at risk to themselves obeyed God to allow God to do extraordinary things to save lives. They are people who did the right thing at the right time under the leadership of God to save others.

The little boy who gave his lunch of fish and five barley rolls to Jesus so that Jesus could multiply his gift to feed more than 5000 people was a hero.

And indeed, the greatest hero in the whole Bible, and in the history of the world, is Jesus Christ, who though sinless and perfect, died on a cross in our place so that we could be forgiven of our sins and be restored relationally with God and have eternal life.

As Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (The Message): “… God put the wrong on Him (Christ) who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” I wonder how many people are totally unaware of the heroic love and action of Jesus to die on the cross in our place.

Have you given any thought to how many times a day someone is silently being a hero on your behalf, and you don’t even notice their heroic involvement? Are you willing to sacrifice of your time or resources to bring the good news of salvation in Christ to others?

Are you remaining alert to opportunities where you could step in and see people’s lives changed for the better? Even if no one notices? Is it possible that you are a hero unaware?

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.