Understanding the Ultimate Sacrifice

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Understanding the Ultimate Sacrifice

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Amid the heartbreak and sorrow over the tragic loss of life of 20 beautiful children and six school officials at the Sandy Hook Elementary, has emerged details of selfless acts of heroism on the part of school officials and teachers who gave their lives by standing in harm’s way to protect their young 6 and 7 year old students.
Among these were principal Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary  Sherlach, who were mercilessly gunned down trying to stop Lanza as he blasted his way into the school. There was 27 year old first grade teacher Victoria Soto, who herded her first grade class into a closet and shielded them from the gunfire by making herself the target of the gunman’s bullets, saving the lives of some of her students by sacrificing her own life in a hail of bullets. A heart rending statement from the family of Dylan Hockley revealed that Dylan and his favorite teacher 27 year old mother of four, Anne Marie Murphy, died together in a hail of bullets as she cradled him in her arms.
In the words of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, they and other staffers killed at Sandy Hook “made the ultimate sacrifice, literally laying down their lives to protect the children they taught and cared for.”
This brings to mind the scriptural passage, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13 John 15:13Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
American King James Version×
). So these six paid the ultimate price by giving their lives for their dear friends—the young students of Sandy Hook Elementary.
The Bible also acknowledges that the rarity of this kind of heroism, “Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person— though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7 Romans 5:7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
American King James Version×
, New Revised Standard).
So although the heroic martyrs on the school staff have paid the ultimate price of dying to save the lives of others, the ultimate sacrifice is a distinction that can best be bestowed on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who “came … to give his life …for many” (Matthew 2028, NRS) so that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
).
But the tragic, violent deaths of the heroes of Sandy Hook Elementary can help us begin to fathom the suffering and sacrificial death of our Savior,  “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
American King James Version×
)—whose sacrificial death paved the way for saving potentially billions from eternal death, and through Whom is offered the gift of eternal life to all mankind, including those who have died. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×
).
Truly, as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:19-22 1 Corinthians 15:19-22 [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. [20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
American King James Version×
(English Standard Version), “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”—.including the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary.
May this sure hope bring comfort to the grief-stricken families and loved ones of this terrible tragedy.
 

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