Most of us remember where we were 11 years ago on that Tuesday morning in 2001 at about 9:00 a.m. We remember the first images of the North Tower which had been hit by American Airlines Flight 11 at 8:46. The 92 people on board the Boeing 767 instantly died and many more inside the North Tower. At first we did not know for sure what was happening.
A few minutes later United Flight 175 struck the South Tower at 9:02. 62 passengers and flight crewmembers were killed on board another Boeing 767. Now we are almost certain this is a terrorist attack on America.
A little later we hear of another attack on the Pentagon. Flight 77, a Boeing 757 with 64 on board, goes up in flames as well as 125 Pentagon workers.
Finally, Todd Beamer and some other passengers on united Flight 93 storm the cockpit and help bring down their hijacked airliner in the rural fields of Shanksville, PA. The terrorist’s target was either the Capital building or the White House which was less than 20 minutes away. This was the only one of the four hijacked planes that did not reach their target. Another 45 people are murdered by Jihadists.
But how should Christians remember 9/11?
The Bible puts great emphasis on remembering. The book of Deuteronomy develops a theology of remembering.
God says, “Remember you were slaves when I delivered you from the slavery of Egypt” (Dt 5:15; 15:15; 16:12; 24:18; 24:22). Also remember that you rebelled against me just as soon as I delivered you (Dt 9:7). For those rejecting Christ as Savior, Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Jesus told of Abraham telling the rich man in Hell, “Remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and you are tormented.” In other words, we will never stop remembering. The unsaved in hell will only remember the bad and believers in Heaven will only recall the good.
Again, what should believers remember about 9/11?
1. We Should Remember Just How Deprave We Are
The total depravity of sinners was showcased on 9/11. Nineteen hijackers turned four airliners loaded with jet fuel, about 10,000 gallons of jet fuel each, into terrorist weapons and murdered 2977 human beings made in the image of God. The 2977 killed included civilians from 38 states, the District of Columbia, and over 70 countries. The dead also includes 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and 55 U. S. military personnel.
In addition to the nearly 3000 who died on 9/11, are the 3000 children whose parent died on that day. The average age of the 3000 children whose parent died was 9 years old. Then there were the scores of children born after 9/11 to grieving widows including one widow who went into labor during her husband’s memorial service. (Worldmag.com).
In Romans 3:9-23, Paul gives us an MRI scan of how the fall of Adam totally affected our entire person. This describes each sinner. Once in awhile, like on 9/11/, we see total depravity fleshed out.
2. We Should Remember Just How Deceived We Sinners Are
The nineteen hijackers led by Osama ben Laden were Islamic Jihadists who in their perverted thinking were serving their god, Allah. As United Flight 93 was plunging to its demise in Shanksville, one of the terrorists shouted, “Allah Akmar” (Allah is the greatest). They believed their martyrdom would sealed their eternal destiny with Allah. They were deceived. Just like all religions who base their salvation on works are deceived. The Quran teaches evangelism by murder. Convert to Islam or be killed as a heretic.
Christianity is not perfect but we have a perfect Savior and a perfect holy Book that teaches us to love God with all of our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. Christianity converts not by hatred but by love. Listen to John make this point in 1 John 3:11-17.
3. We Should Remember Just How Patient God Is
Why does God not wipe radical jidadist off the face of the earth? Peter tells us why in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God’s Son died for all sinners.
There is a future day of reckoning, however, for all who reject Christ. We usually don’t read the next verse in 2 Peter 3:10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night: in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and works that are therein shall be burned up.”
4. We Should Remember Just How Holy God Is
Sometimes people ask, “Was God punishing America on 9/11?”
Jesus addressed current tragedies and disasters in Luke 13:1-5 and concluded that the people who died in those two current tragedies were not greater sinners than the ones who were spared.
The nearly 3000 who died on 9/11 or the 116 in tornadoes in the Joplin, Missouri, did not die because of their sin but because of Adam’s sin. The curse on Adam’s sin was a curse on earth that now spawns natural disasters.
Sometimes people question, “Why did God not stop such a tragedy and suffering?” God allows people to choose their actions. God does not force us to love Him and serve Him or He would have created robots. We will not only have to answer to God one day for our sins but also for the consequences of our sins on others.
5. We Should Remember Just How Merciful God Is
Not only should we remember the tragedy of 9/11 but the heroism of that day.
Bruno Dellinger, who worked on the 47th floor of the North Tower, headed down an overheated stairwell. He discovered “regular people, like me, and people from upper floors who were badly burned—no skin, no hair, just burned—they were coming down, walking or carried down helped by people.” He met firefighters and security personnel: “In some of those eyes you could see that they knew something, it was dangerous, they knew something . . . and while there was no panic whatsoever in the stairwell, those people were concentrated, focused on doing their job . . . and while I was walking down they were going up to their death, and I was walking down to live” (Worldmag.com).
The greatest act of love and sacrifice for others happened not in NYC but on Calvary when Christ died for our sins so that we could live eternally with Him. On the night before His death, Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper and commanded, “This do in remembrance of me.”
Also, we need to remember that when we trust Christ as our Savior, that God said, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).