The Marks of Battle
Last year world leaders gathered on the beaches of Normandy to remember that seventy-five years ago General Eisenhower hand wrote a brief love letter to his wife saying she wouldn’t hear from him in a few days. He had given the order for Operation Overlord to begin and members of the 8th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division were the first to arrive at 06:30 on Utah Beach. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history and on the first day 4, 414 men were confirmed dead, but by the end of June more than 875,000 men were facing the Germans on European soil.
As we remember this day that initiated the liberation of Europe from Nazi totalitarianism, it’s not the politicians gathered on the beach that capture my attention. It’s the face to face interviews with the few dozen D-Day survivors that rivet my attention. It’s their eye witness accounts that I want to listen to because they lived and persevered until Europe was free.
As the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the Galatians, he gives us one last reason why we need not ignore his total commitment to the Gospel of grace through faith and why we certainly don’t want to be on the side of those hassling him by telling his spiritual children to add to the cross the need to join a religion, keep holy days, and try to live according to moral rules and regulations. We can trust the fact that it’s not some moralistic makeover but a divine work that creates in us an entire new identity in intimacy with Jesus. And we can trust that it is true because Paul could lift up his tunic and we could see the marks on his body—wounds suffered for the sake of amazing grace.
“From now on, let no one give me any hassle, for I bear in my body the marks of Jesus.” Galatians 6:17
LORD, help me to respond to the Apostle Paul’s credibility as proved by his willingness to suffer for your name. Thanks also for your union with us so that Paul could say that the marks of persecution on his body belonged as much to you as to him.
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