Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NIV
The first that Dave knew something was very wrong was the double thud heard on the wooden framed outer doorway of the office where he was working on assignment in North Carolina. He was in regular communication via computer with his colleagues in Scotland, and although very unfamiliar with guns, he immediately recognised the sound of heavy gunfire and bullets which embedded themselves into the office doorway just a few feet from where he was sitting. There was a thin internal wall separating him from one of the production lines. Very quickly, Dave and many others were escorted outside to safety by armed security and told to ‘get down’ which they did.
Roll back a few minutes and an ex-employee had entered the production line unofficially through a loading bay, armed with an automatic rifle, handgun, and a large belt of ammunition. He was hunting for his old manageress with the intention of killing her for firing him due to his erratic behaviour. Unknown to him, she was out that day. The other men and women on that production line knew how unpredictable this man could be, but step forward the hero of the piece. A young family man, who was a lay preacher, and a former friend, he stood between the gunman and any possible intended victim. He tried to reason with the unreasonable, and it didn’t have any effect. Instead, at point blank range, this young man paid the price with his life by defending the other folks who could also have been a target, and died immediately. The gunman fled and was captured some miles down the highway after another shootout.
Dave never got to know the name of the hero who paid the ultimate price that day, but every single person on that production line felt they owed their life to him. He died on their behalf, and had done nothing wrong. His motives and actions were pure and clean. Remind you of anyone else? It should.
Another hero many centuries earlier had laid His life down for His friends, and not just a few, but for everyone who asks for His saving grace. Jesus died just as sure as the unnamed hero that Dave never met. He was a Christian who lived and died confessing his faith to a man who possibly didn’t deserve any help or mercy, but was granted it by another friend who decided to put his life on the line, to give his friend a second chance. It failed. How like the Saviour of the world who even now stands between us and a lost eternity, and yet so many still reject His pleading, but yet His word is as true today as it was when it is recorded: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart. Hebrews 3:15 NIV, but we must also always remember the promise of our ever loving Saviour Jesus who declares: And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Acts 2:21 NIV. How can we remain unsure and undecided knowing that we are loved that much? Maybe it’s time to take Him up on His offer of life, and that second chance we so desperately need.