By March, 1836, the situation had become desperate for the Texans holed up the Alamo. The defenders answered Santa Anna’s surrender demand with a round from the fort’s cannon. In response, Santa Anna, ran up a red flag and ordered his buglers to play Deguello – a cadence instructing his troops to show no quarter. The die was cast. The time for negotiation was past. William Barrett Travis had committed his men to either victory or death.
Shortly before Santa Anna’s final assault, Travis assembled the garrison and with his sword drew a line in the sand in front of his men. Any man who desired to leave and live could simply walk away. But those who would stay and die must step across the line in the sand. According to legend, every man, except one, crossed that line and vowed to die for the cause of freedom.
This was a defining moment in the history of our country. The death of the Alamo defenders galvanized support for the Texas Republic and fueled American Westward expansion. The doomed men inside the Alamo would never know the impact of their fateful decision. Crossing Travis’ line was a defining moment and gave rise to an expression we all use. To draw a line in the sand means to make a decision from which there is no retreat. It is a moment which defines us.
Each of us will face defining moments – points at which our choices will establish what characterizes our lives, choices from which there is no going back. But there is no more significant line in the sand than the one we are invited to cross when we are confronted with the resurrection of Jesus. Not one of the gospels describes the moment of Jesus’ resurrection, but every gospel examines the responses of all those confronted with the evidence. There were many reactions – fear, obstinacy, joy, and skepticism – and most importantly faith. The resurrection of Jesus is the defining moment of all human history. Belief or unbelief in the resurrection is the central issue of the Christian faith. The Apostle Paul put it bluntly.
if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:14-19
What is your response to the resurrection of Jesus? How does this moment in history define you? Is belief in the resurrection a line in the sand you won’t cross? Join us this Sunday, April 21, as we examine Matthew 28 and consider how our response to the resurrection defines us. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.