Mike Schrage, Executive Director
You may not recognize the name of Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, but many in France do.* He was the police officer who boldly suggested to the terrorist that he let “Julie,” a female hostage, go free in exchange for his unarmed person. The swap was made. A gunfight later ensued. Officer Beltrame was injured and died the next day from those injuries.
He courageously exchanged his life for another, a victim who was a total stranger of no significant standing. Training and experience prepared him for such a moment. As a member of the elite police force, he would, however, often tell his family, “I’m just doing my job.” How many people in the world have a job like that?
As we reflect on the recent Easter season, the imagery is vivid. Jesus prepared his entire life for the cross—that gruesome exchange of death for life. He too was from an elite pedigree and training, the Son of Man who never sinned and the only Son of God. Jesus died hours after injuries so cruel no one ever survived. His life was not taken in exchange for an innocent woman and harmless stranger but for a guilty thief, and ultimately, for each one of us.
Jesus did it all so that each of us could have a chance, like Julie, to run to freedom. We can have eternal freedom from the ultimate global terrorist, Satan.
The cross is the greatest hostage swap in history, and it is still being negotiated today every time someone says “yes” to Jesus.