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Some say it's legend. Some say it's history, but it's one of the most inspiring stories from America's past. The scene: a tiny mission near San Antonio, Texas. A small band of Texas Freedom Fighters is taking their stand against the invading Mexican Army, and they're vastly outnumbered. There's a brief window during which the men of the Alamo have a choice between leaving or staying to fight. Col. William Travis is in command of the garrison and, according to some accounts; he gathered the defenders in the courtyard of the Alamo. With his sword, he drew a line in the sand and he called his men to a destiny choice: cross the line as your pledge to fight or stay where you are as an announcement that you are leaving. They all crossed the line to heroism, to immortality, and to honor that has endured nearly 200 years.
Two thousand years ago, a spiritual line was drawn in the sand and it's still there. And every person who belongs to Jesus Christ has to make their choice.
To understand that choice, let's go back those 20 centuries to the first Christians who had to make it. Their story is found in Acts 4, beginning with verse 12, our word for today from the Word of God. The scene is Jerusalem - the city where Jesus had been put to death only weeks before. Peter and John have just been proclaiming Jesus in the temple area. Now, facing a hostile crowd of powerful rulers, they make this bombshell announcement: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men, by which we must be saved."
At that point, some of the same people who had arranged for Jesus' crucifixion "called them in again," the Bible says, "and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus." There's the line in the sand. Talk about whatever you want, but don't talk about Jesus! The Christians' answer? "We cannot help but speaking about what we have seen and heard." Later, the Bible says, "With great power the apostles continued to testify to resurrection of the Lord Jesus." They made their choice. They would talk about Jesus, whatever it cost.
What about you and me? We face the same choice in situation after situation. Will we talk about Jesus at a time and in a culture where it's okay to talk about anything you want except Jesus? Actress Patricia Heaton, one of the stars of the hit TV series, "Everybody Loves Raymond," has publicly professed her faith in Christ. Recently, in People Magazine, she said: "Most people have some kind of faith. However, I think Jesus is a scary subject. 'God' you can make into anything you want. But confronted with Jesus you have to say I believe that or I don't, and that's very powerful."
Yes, it is. And the devil knows it. That's why he's made you and me choke so often when we get to that name - Jesus. We'll talk about God, family values, our church, our faith, but when it comes to Jesus, we unwittingly obey the 2,000-year-old order from hell, "Do not mention Jesus." But there is no other name by which people can be rescued from an awful eternity. Of course, Satan does everything to have us chicken out on talking that name.
So the line is in the sand. Are you going to stay where it's "safe," hiding Jesus behind you. Or are you going to cross the line and join the heroes who say, "I'll tell them about Jesus, whatever it costs." The people who think nothing of Jesus aren't ashamed to freely speak His name in disrespect. What about you; someone whose life, whose eternity has been changed by Jesus? Will you talk about Him because you love Him and because they need Him? Or will you be ashamed of Jesus? On that brutal cross, Jesus was not ashamed of you.