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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN





Seen any heroes lately? We live in an age when heroes often prove not so heroic. You know. High—profile and highly—paid athletes who hit 95 mph fastballs out of the park but turn out to be cheaters who use banned substances. Or record-breaking Olympians who are exposed smoking pot. Careful who you label as a hero — too often our heroes turn out to be moral zeroes. "Hero" is defined as "a person of exceptional bravery; a person admired for superior qualities and achievements" (Webster's Universal Dictionary and Thesaurus). By that defmition, I suppose it's okay to call Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger a hero. On Thursday, January 15, 2009, Sullenberger, unknown to most Americans, was catapulted into instant fame and also hero status. Sully, an airline pilot for US Air, remained amazingly calm and keenly decisive after some geese flew into and instantly crippled both engines of his aircraft shortly after takeoff at New York City's LaGuardia Airport. In far less than a New York minute, Sully decided his only option was to ditch the plane in the icy waters of the Hudson River, which he proceeded to do with the steely precision of a brain surgeon. Once down, Sully refused to leave the plane until he personally verified all passengers were out. Astonishingly, all 155 on board were accounted for and alive and only a few required treatment at hospitals. Praise for the pilot was profuse, from both rescued passengers and from public officials. Former Delta pilot Denny Walsh summed it up: "I don't think there's enough praise to go around for someone who does something like this." New York governor David Patterson said of Sully, "This is a heroic pilot." And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg described Sullenberger's river landing as "masterful." How would you feel about an airline captain who saved your life? Bravo, Sully and crew!

Allow me to make a giant leap from the captain of an airliner to One the Bible refers to as "the captain of our salvation" (Hebrews 2:10). A careful study of the book of Hebrews reveals at least some original readers of the letter no longer considered Jesus as deserving of "hero status." They had lost touch with the soul-shaking truth that Jesus Christ is the incomparable Son of God and the Savior of the world! But the inspired writer of the book displays no such uncertainty or confusion about the Divine status and true identity of Christ. Remember the earlier definition of hero — "a person of exceptional bravery; a person admired for superior qualities and achievements." Keep those words in mind as you read the superlative description of Jesus in Hebrews 1:2b-3 — "whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Jesus is Heaven's Hero! Spiritually, His qualities and achievements are supreme. Jesus stands in a class all by Himself as the Son of God who saves us from sin and eternal damnation in hell. How should we feel about the One who died to rescue our souls? Bravo Jesus!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ