It has been two years since my grandpa, Truman Vrooman, passed away at the age of 93. We all miss him very much (on left, first photo). We miss his incredible determination, wisdom and inspiration. He was a great example to his family and friends. He had an amazing life filled with many wonderful memories and stories.
In June of 2005, I interviewed him over the telephone for a Father's Day newsletter. It was a low quality production but the audio file has become a family treasure. At one point during the interview, I asked him to retell the WWII story of his unselfish decision to let a friend fly in his place. The seemingly insignificant decision had an eternal consequence.
My grandpa had just flown from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Tampa Bay, Florida. Grandpa had a good reputation as an engineer and was well thought of by many of the pilots. After being at the base in Tampa for a couple of weeks, a pilot asked him to fly to North Carolina as his engineer. Grandpa agreed to go. However, a little while later, one of the sergeants asked grandpa, "Truman, do you mind if I would take your place? My wife lives up there and she's pregnant. I'd like to get home and see her." Grandpa gladly let the man take his place because he was just going, more or less, as a favor for the pilot.
Tragically, the B-26 Marauder, a.k.a. "The Widow Maker," crashed into the mountains of North Carolina. All of the crew died in the crash. Grandpa could have been on that plane. But "it just wasn't my time," he concluded. My family and I are here today because it was not his time.
The Easter story has a similar consequence. Jesus took your place. Jesus took my place. He died for you. He died for me. He died for your sins. And He died for my sins. Paul writes:
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8)
Aren't you glad to know that Jesus Christ has died for your sins? God sacrificed His only Son out of love for us. You can't accomplish salvation on your own. You can't save yourself. You can only accept his offer to go in your place. He will make sure you reach your heavenly destination.
But the Easter story is much bigger than Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. It's about Jesus being raised from the dead. It's about Him conquering death and hell and fear. It's about Him living up to everything He preached. It's about eternal life being made available to everyone who will accept His generous offer.
Spend some time reflecting and soul searching this Easter. May the death and life story of Jesus Christ become a reality for you this year. May you fathom the fateful offer that He is making you today.
He took my place. Will He take yours?
"And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because His Spirit who lives in you." (Romans 8:11)
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