Today marks the 17th anniversary of the day that changed the modern world. And, of course, that would be none other than 9/11. It was a day like no other and will never be forgotten by those old enough to remember the mind-boggling horror that occurred in just a few short hours on a crisp, beautiful September morning. While many went through their typical routines around the country, thousands of unsuspecting souls were brutally and abruptly thrust into eternity. The surreal scene of the mighty World Trade Center in New York crumbling seems as frightfully fresh in our minds today as when we watched it a over a decade and a half ago.
And yet enough time has passed now that something seemingly unique and sad is
occurring. With 17 years having passed since this event, there are growing
numbers of younger Americans who have no real recollection of the day that will
forever impact their lives. All of those born since September 11, 2001, and
many who were very young at the time, do not have a first hand remembrance of
it all. If they know anything – and some know very little – it may be
from a casual history lesson in school or some other brief encounter with the
facts that likely don’t do justice to the enormity of the event.
Remembering certain key things in life is crucial. It has been said that those
who forget all about history are often doomed to repeats its mistakes. And the
reality of that can be seen through many troubling examples down through the years.
What happened in World War II would be a sobering illustration.
But there is another form of remembrance that is even more important than the
historical or any other. It is essential because it resides in the realm of the
spiritual. This special and most critical kind of remembering occurred in the
account of the crucifixion of Christ in Luke 23.
The Savior had been placed between two condemned criminals who were being
executed with him. While suffering and dying, one of the two men began taunting
Him. The account begins in verse 39. “Then
one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, 'If You are the
Christ, save Yourself and us.' But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying,
'Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we
indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has
done nothing wrong.' Then he said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when You come
into Your kingdom.'"
Somehow this one thief recognized, while dying along side of Jesus,
that he himself was a sinner. He somehow understood that the man next to him
was indeed God in the flesh and was therefore capable of saving and justifying
him. In essence he said, "Lord remember that I’m spiritually lost. And
Lord please remember to save me and take me with you to your heavenly kingdom
when I shortly breathe my last." The Lord’s instant response comes in
verse 43. “And Jesus said to him,
'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'"
In other words, the Savior confirmed that He would remember this man’s dying
confession of saving faith and, based on that alone, guaranteed him forgiveness
and a place in heaven forever.
Today, many are remembering the day that changed the world – and with good
reason. But what occurred on that day was not about crashing planes, burning
buildings, rescue efforts or a revitalized war on terror. It is about the
precious lives that were lost that day. These can never be rebuilt or replaced.
On that fateful day, all who perished entered eternity in one of two
conditions. They were either saved or they were forever lost. They either had
Christ as Savior or did not according to 1 John 5:11-12. And those who were
redeemed said to Christ at some point in life, "Lord, remember me. Lord, I
cannot save myself. Lord, I trust You alone to forgive and make me right
before God." And all who had done that prior to departing this life on
9/11 gained paradise just like the poor soul who died along side of the One who
died in his place on the cross.
Being ready at a moment's notice to face God, whether in a burning building, a
falling plane or through natural causes, is as simple as asking Christ to
remember you as a sinner and trusting Him fully as your Savior. He is the One
who died for us all and who waits for all to call upon Him in for redemption.
There are many valuable things in life worth remembering, but never forget to
remember the one thing that matters most in life and especially in death!
"Remember , O LORD, Your tender
mercies and Your loving kindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember
the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember
me, For Your goodness' sake, O LORD.” (Psalm 25:6-7)