Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Two Sides to Every Battle

  In the summer of 1863, Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee converged on Vicksburg by
The Mississippi River.  There they soon surrounded the city and trapped an entire Confederate army commanded by Lt. General John Pemberton. On May 25th, Grant decided to besiege the city. With no hope of reinforcements, with food and supplies nearly gone, after holding out for more than forty days, Pemberton finally surrendered on July 4th.  For the rest of the Country, the Fourth of July was a time of celebration and joyful remembrance among the former Colonies.  But for the Confederate States and the citizens of Vicksburg in particular, it had now become a time of bitter remembrance of a great defeat.

So bitter were the feelings and memories of the people of Vicksburg afterward that they did not officially observe the Independence Day holiday for the next 81 years, not returning to its observance until 1945. There were no fireworks, no picnics, no days off work. The post office didn’t even close on the Fourth of July in Vicksburg for decades. All of that indifference was solely because July 4th was the day General Pemberton of the South chose to surrender the city to General Grant of the North.

In every great battle, as in all terrible wars, there are always winners and losers, the victorious and the defeated. When those dates in history are recounted you will find strong emotions on both sides of the outcome, to the Victorious comes peace and jubilation, but to the Defeated comes bitter resentment and confusion.  The same parallel is seen in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Believers in Jesus know His death on the Cross for what it was, a great victory!  His death and His resurrection three days later, is a time of celebration for the Church. We as His followers even wear the instrument of His death around our necks (the Cross) and adorn our church buildings with the image from Sanctuary to Steeple. We rejoice in the Cross on Good Friday and we celebrate a triumphant Easter Sunday.  The Battle that was fought on Calvary and won at the open Tomb, spelled defeat for Sin, Death and the Devil. What they had imagined as a great victory, became in fact a complete defeat.

The Bible shows this difference by these verses, “Our words are wise because they are from God, telling of God's wise plan to bring us into the glories of heaven. This plan was hidden in former times, though it was made for our benefit before the world began.  But the great men of the world have not understood it; if they had, they never would have crucified the Lord of Glory.”  
1 Corinthians 2:7-8

 I am sure when Easter Sunday rolls around each year there is no celebration in Hell. The Devil and his hosts have chosen to keep silent, while the rest of Heaven and the Blood-Bought of Earth shout Hallelujah and praise the Victory that Christ has won.

   “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”  Galatians 6:14

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