Many nations set a date for their citizens to remember men and women in uniform who died in the line of duty. This is to acknowledge the sacrifices that they offered, in order that the rest of mankind may live in peace and prosperity. Some of those who died were buried in tombs that were properly marked, with inscriptions describing their heroic acts. However, unmarked tombs represent the majority of those who died, because their remains were never found. Regardless, their memories remain in the hearts of those who are now enjoying the fruit of their labour.
Similarly, there are also heroes of the faith that were mentioned in Scriptures. There were those who were bemedalled, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses, yet the sacrifices of those who were not as prominent were likewise acknowledged in the Book of Hebrews when it said, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised” (Heb. 11:39).
If we are enjoying religious freedom today, it is on account of the sacrifices that the heroes of faith offered. Again, the Book of Hebrews described their sacrifices: “There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground” (Heb. 11:35-38). These were the sacrifices that our heroes had to offer, for us to enjoy the freedom of worship that God has designed for us. However, the ultimate Hero of our faith is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ—the object of our worship. He offered the ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross so that we could have life. He conquered death and brought freedom to us.
While Jesus is the ultimate Hero of our faith, he is relegated by many to lesser prominence. This can be seen in the manner that many churches, who proclaim that Jesus is Lord and Saviour, are naming their churches. Some use generic names, while others name their churches after their patron saints. This was true even in the days of the apostle Paul. When he was in Athens, he noticed that the people were very religious. He said, “I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you” (Acts 17:22-23). Yes, to many who do not know him, Jesus is just a man. However, to those who believe, He is the Son of God—and God himself. He is not a hero buried in an unmarked tomb. Rather, His tomb is empty because He rose from the dead after conquering death. He is triumphant and now bears the title, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” He is known by those who have opened their hearts to Him, for he revealed Himself to them.
Unlike the nations that only remember their heroes once a year, Jesus, our Hero, should be remembered moment by moment. The apostle Paul appropriately described the reason for remembering Jesus moment by moment with these words: “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Therefore, we should not only remember Jesus on Sundays when we go to church or when we attend Bible studies. Instead, He should always be in our hearts and we must be ready to call on Him. We are told that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
There are other unsung heroes in our lives. We have our physical fathers who deserve to be remembered and honoured. They do not brag about what they do, but quietly work to provide for the needs of the family. They ensure that their children will grow up in the fear of the Lord. We also have mothers who work tirelessly to keep the family together. A tribute for these heroines is found in Proverbs 31. These women deserve to be remembered and acknowledged for their sacrifices, both as mothers and as wives. We also need to acknowledge our children. They, too, are the heroes of their parents for the good things they are doing in school or in their careers. Not to be overlooked are the heroes in the church—the pastors and workers. As our heroes, believers are commanded to “obey your leaders and submit to their authority…obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb. 13:17).
Friends, let us remember those who labour among us and are heroes or heroine to us. They deserve to be respected and honoured. More importantly, let us remember the Lord Jesus as the ultimate Hero. He offered His life once and for all that we might have life in Him. Hallelujah!