Reece Harper-Green was a good man – not a perfect man, for who is? but, by general definition, Reece was a good man. His family loved him. He loved his family. His friends and his workmates loved him. And he loved his friends and his workmates. During the Eulogies we heard stories about Reece, about his life. We have laughed together. We have shed tears together as we remember this “good man.”
We live in a world where bad things happen to good people, even people like Reece. Reece’s young life was cut short by that great leveller – death. None of us ultimately escapes death. It’s just that some of us postpone it longer than others. But death comes to us all – sooner or later. I think we are agreed that it was too soon for Reece.
Reece was a tender man, a gentleman, a gentle giant. He wanted to learn how to play “Clair de Lune” on the piano – apparently so that he could impress the girls! Reece lived life to the fullest. He touched so many lives along the way. Has natural friendliness gave him the ability to win the affections of people from all walks of life.
But Reece was also a warrior! It wasn’t just his 6’ 7” height that made Reece stand out in a crowd. It was his belief. Reece believed in something – something profound. Something honourable. In fact Reece believed in an ideal so much so that he had it tattooed onto his body: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” That’s a noble ideal!
One is reminded of that poem written by a Christian minister at the time of Hitler’s rise to power, a version of which is:
“First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Pastor Martin-Niemöller)
It’s all very well having ideals, but how would you put a belief like this into practice? – “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Reece Harper-Green, “H-G,” put his belief into practice. When he joined the army he spoke for us! This “good man” didn’t believe in doing nothing. Reece fought against evil. Not in the halls of academia. Not while leaning on a bar in some pub. No! Risking his own life to protect our freedom Reece fought evil on the battlefield. He fought alongside some of you who are here today – his “brothers-in-arms.”
Reece sought to triumph over evil. He didn’t just think about it. He spoke up. Reece did something about it. In this we see a clear reflection of a greater battle that is going on, an invisible war, a spiritual war for the souls of men and women.
We see what God in Jesus Christ has already done about evil. Jesus is the One God sent into this world to crush the head of evil. Jesus is the One God sent onto the battlefield to fight to protect us from the evil-one and his minions, our enemy.
“Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ laid down His life. He died on the battlefield. For God’s friends? No! For His enemies! As the Scripture says, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…”
Enemies? That’s what the Bible calls those for whom Christ died. After we believe in Him He calls us His friends. As His enemies we are sinners in need of reconciliation with God. If we are in need of reconciliation we must be out of sorts with God. Jesus spoke for us before God. His cross, His death on the cross speaks loudly and clearly to God and to all who trust Him to be their spokesman. Jay Adams said,
The cross was not merely an act of compassion and mercy directed toward mankind; it was a cosmic event in which God demonstrated who and what He is before all the universe.” Jay Adams “The Biblical View of Self-esteem: Self-love: Self image” p. 89
God demonstrates who He is in His perfect likeness, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did not let evil flourish. This good Man did not do nothing.
None of us is perfect, not even Reece Harper-Green, but Jesus Christ is perfect. He is the Man of God’s own choosing. He lived a perfect life before God on behalf of all who trust in Him to save them from evil, and ultimately to save them from death. His death is the death of death. For His resurrection has brought us life, everlasting life. “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
Jesus Christ was dead but is now alive forevermore. Right now He is with His Father in Heaven. Only with Jesus as your Head, as your Champion, as your Representative, your Spokesman before God will you be able to triumph over evil. For evil, like Hitler’s Nazis, has come for you. But be encouraged. Look to Jesus for protection, for life, for everlasting life, for reconciliation with God.
The Bible speaks of your human body as if it were tent. We might chuckle at the picture of Reece trying to sleep with his feet sticking out of the door of a tent because of his height. A tent is a pretty fragile thing in a world surrounded by evil. So is the human body. But don’t despair. For Scripture says, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
On account of His triumph over evil all those who have been reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus “have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”
We can triumph over evil because Jesus Christ has already triumphed over evil. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Reece, we thank you for what you did to help to protect us from evil. However, we thank the Lord Jesus Christ for conquering evil by His work on the cross and saving from judgment on the Last Day all who trust and rest in Him!