The Allied invasion of Normandy, code-named “Operation Overlord,” was the largest seaborne invasion in the history, landing on a 50-mile wide stretch of coast divided into five sections, Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah and Omaha beaches, on the shores of Nazi-occupied France.
Casualties that day were over 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. The night before, more than 24,000 American, British and Canadian airborne troops parachuted behind enemy lines into France to secure bridges and landing zones as well as to protect the invasion’s flank. At Pointe du Hoc, a rocky 100-foot cliff protecting a German artillery battery between Omaha and Utah beaches was assaulted by the 2nd Ranger Battalion. The battle raged for another two days up and over the cliffs to secure the enemy positions. Of the 225 men who began the assault, only 90 were able to continue fighting. The remainder were killed or wounded.
Bravery was in no short supply during these events, as men knowingly marched forward into the abyss of war, in the same spirit of offering oneself as commanded by Jesus in John 15:13: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Stephen the martyr was a friend to Jesus. He offered up his own life in service to his Lord and Savior, in the hope that his words, his final speech in obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ, may sway the very hearts and minds who were looking to end his life.
This sacrifice, still discussed at length some 2,000 years later, is of the same spirit of sacrifice that the men of D-Day carried with them. So too was the storming of the gates of hell, when Jesus died for all of humanity and spilled His precious blood on Calvary. The war was won with His Resurrection and victory over sin and death; His sacrifice saved mankind from the grasp of Satan.
Let us honor both the Lord Jesus Christ and the brave men who stormed the beaches of France by taking up the same sacrificial spirit, in grateful love for our Savior and brethren and sisters, and display to the world the sacrificial love that was demonstrated to them on the cross.
James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.