April 19, 1775 marks the genesis of a term we have come to know as “The shot heard round the world.” With the pull of a trigger, the hammer struck a primer igniting a single black powder charged rifle to propel a bullet downrange into enemy territory. While the mechanics of the gunshot are simplistic, the consequences were monumental. The battles of Lexington and Concord were underway, and from that point forward many would fight to the point of death on the conviction of their beliefs.
The initial shot of the American Revolutionary War would eventually be echoed through numerous other battles. More importantly, this battle would give way to the birth of America as a separate country from the rest of the world. That gunshot can still be heard as America seeks to protect and defend its independence.
There are many historical events that can be seen as echoing throughout the historical timeline of humanity. The death of an innocent Messiah is no exclusion to such significance and gravity. In fact, there are many aspects of Christ that are seen woven throughout the lives of His disciples throughout the last 2,000 years. Christendom often looks as practices such as baptism as a parallel to the death, burial, and resurrection — and rightfully so, for even Paul would affirm such theology (Rom. 6:1- 6). It is through this wonderful act of obedience that we find our forgiveness in Jesus through His blood. It is a chance for us to rise a new creature, putting the former body to death.
While we can take confidence in our ability to imitate Jesus in His death and resurrection through baptism, we must also keep in mind the other aspects of Jesus that we are to engage in copying (Phil. 3:17). Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects of Jesus is to see the total submission He displayed toward the Father, synonymous with the undeniable love He maintained for mankind. While the innocent messiah was being barbarically delivered to the cross, the words were spoken, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
As the church began to grow in the First Century, Luke recounts the persecution of Stephen; a faithful servant of Christ. Amazingly, as Stephen is being killed by way of people crushing his body with projected stones, he speaks “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Total submission to God inseparable with undeniable love for humanity. The words of Jesus are heard around the world. But then this observation immediately looks inward; am I willing to echo Jesus, even in the most extreme of times?