The Victoria Cross Is Given for Acts of Self-Sacrifice
In his recent book (2017) (Re)union, Bruxy Cavey writes:
The Victoria Cross is Canada's highest military honor, similar to the Medal of Honor in the United States. These medals are awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. Of the thousands awarded to date, more citations have been bestowed for falling on grenades to save comrades than any other single act.
The first Victoria Cross of World War II was awarded to Company Sergeant-Major John Robert Osborn. The sergeant-major and his men were cut off from their battalion and under heavy attack. When the enemy came close enough, the Canadian soldiers were subjected to a concentrated barrage of grenades. Several times Osborn protected his men by picking up live grenades and throwing them back, but eventually one fell in just the wrong position to pick up in time. With only a split second to decide, Osborn shouted a warning and threw himself on top of the grenade. It exploded, killing him instantly. The rest of his company survived that battle because of Osborn's selfless other-centeredness.
I love stories of this kind of bravery and self-sacrifice. They give me hope for humanity and offer us all a glimpse of God's goodness reflected in his image-bearers. But no matter how beautiful that heroic act may be, through Jesus we see an even greater love at the heart of God. You see, soldiers who fall on grenades do so out of love for their friends while they are on the battlefield trying to kill their enemies. Jesus died for his friends, and his enemies, and for everyone in between.