Just days before Holy Week, when Christians around the world remember Jesus’ sacrifice and celebrate His resurrection, a terrorist stormed into a supermarket in southwest France opening fire and killing two. After negotiation, the terrorist released all but one hostage, whom he turned into a human shield. Knowing the danger, police officer Arnaud Beltrame did the unthinkable: he volunteered to take the woman’s place. The perpetrator released her, but in the ensuing scuffle Beltrame was injured and later died.
A minister who knew the police officer attributed his heroism to his faith in Jesus, pointing to His words in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Those were the words Christ spoke to His disciples after their last meal together. He told His friends to “Love each other as I have loved you” (v. 12) and that the greatest love is to lay down one’s life for another (v. 13). This is exactly what Jesus did the next day, when He went to the cross to save us from our sin—as only He could.
We may never be called to follow the heroism of this officer. But as we remain in God’s love, we can serve others sacrificially, laying down our own plans and desires as we seek to share the story of His great love.