In the rotunda of our nation’s capitol building hangs John Trumbull’s famous painting depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Very little of it is historically accurate. They were not assembled when they signed. The first signers did so on August 2 and it took several months before all forty-seven affixed their names to what was then signing a death sentence. Only a third of the country thought independence from England was a good idea. Washington most likely would have lost the war had it not been for the support of France. Had he lost the war those forty-seven were dead men walking and they knew it when they signed.
As I look at the picture I cannot help but make a comparison with Jesus’ twelve disciples. While the disciples did not sign anything they indeed committed themselves to following Jesus. However they, unlike the forty-seven signers of the Declaration, thought they were on the road to riches and power. Jesus was the Messiah. He was going to rule the world. The Roman Empire would fall and Jerusalem would be the capitol of the world. They would be well rewarded for being the first on board.
Forty-seven chose to die for a noble cause vs. twelve looking for the good life. Three years later, after being with Jesus, they were changed men. They too would sacrifice life for the love of right. This is an amazing story of what happens to people who commit to Jesus. He transforms us into the people we wish to be. If you want to be a person of sterling character, if you understand that character is destiny, make Jesus the Lord of your life and you too will have a cause so noble you would not hesitate to sacrifice life itself. Blessed is such a person.