“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15 v13.”
There are many amazing people through history who have done just that. I want to tell you of one of them.
Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan friar whose church provided shelter to thousands of refugees including Jews during World War ll. He was eventually arrested and imprisoned in 1941 and placed in the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp. In July of that year, three men escaped, and as a punishment the SS commander ordered ten men to be starved, to deter further escapees. Kolbe was not one of these men, but when one of the chosen begged for mercy, he volunteered to take his place. During the entire time, he calmly led the others in prayer and after three weeks he was the only one left. Eventually the commander ordered Fr. Kolbe to be killed by lethal injection. Kolbe willingly offered his arm for the injection.
This was indeed a sacrifice of one’s life for another. Maximilian Kolbe was a man of faith who knew with certainty that death was not the end, but a doorway to a new way of living with his Saviour.
On April 16th, Christians around the world will be remembering another great sacrifice, not for one person, but for the whole human race. We celebrate again the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reading the Bible accounts leaves you in no doubt about the life-transforming experience upon those disciples who witnessed the resurrected Jesus. Yes, doubt to begin with but then transformed into confident and strong witnesses of what humanly seemed impossible. Their confidence was infectious and their energy and joy was unquenchable. It was the driving force behind the incredible growth and expansion of the early church.
So this year when you are eating your Easter eggs, ( symbolic of new life bursting from the egg) spare a thought for the real meaning of Easter and the hope and joy that the amazing sacrifice of love brings to millions of folk around the world.
Wishing you all a blessed Easter.