Pastor Jim Howard
First Baptist Church
233 S. Main, Cedar Springs
The high ground has always been an important practical and tactical advantage. During a flood, livestock and people will seek to escape the rising waters by moving to higher ground. In a tactical sense, many military operations require the taking and holding of the high ground.
During WWII, US Marines stormed ashore on Iwo Jima (February 19, 1945). Holding this particular island was imperative in order to have a forward air base for our B-29’s to reach Japan. It took three bitterly fought days to gain the high ground, and nearly a month to take the whole island. Immortalized in pictures, statues and stamps is the image of the Marines raising the Stars & Stripes on top of Mt. Suribachi on February 22, 1945.
Two thousand years ago, the high ground was again the focus of attention as an assembly gathered to watch the raising of another symbol of freedom. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ brought to a close the condemnation of the Law and the revelation of God’s grace. Among Jesus last words were those which remind us that a conclusion has been reached, “…it is finished.” In a short period of time, we move from a picture of hopelessness to unbounded joy and hope in the resurrected Jesus!
John reminds us, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). No other words, nor historical events have ever brought so much hope to the hopeless. While I can appreciate all who have given their last full measure to ensure my freedom as an American, only Christ can ensure my eternal freedom (Romans 10:9).