Remembering the Alamo!

I will reveal my age with a personal story of my childhood. When I was about seven, someone gave me a book about turning points in American history. The author wrote the book on a child’s level. Still, it told about some significant events like the battles of Saratoga and Gettysburg. One that grabbed me was the story of the Alamo.


It so happened that that same year the movie, “The Alamo,” starring John Wayne, was released. My parents allowed me to go to that movie – alone. It was the first time I got to go to a movie without “parental guidance” in the theater.


I remember that the build-up to the battle lasted too long for a little boy of seven. I hung in and watched the whole show to the bitter end. I held back tears as the Alamo fell and the Texas patriots all died.


The battle of the Alamo began on February 24, 1836, when Santa Ana and his 3000 troops began a thirteen-day siege of the 189 Texans and Tejanos in San Antonio. The battle was essential to Texas’ independence. The Texan “freedom fighters” used the memory of the Alamo to rally their troops to fight the Mexican army.


In 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain and established a democratic Federal Constitution. Santa Ana rejected the Constitution and became the dictator of Mexico. He quelled every attempt to overthrow his rule.


The Texans created their Declaration of Independence. They recounted the tyranny of Santa Ana. In it, they stated that Santa Ana “denies us the right of worshiping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience.”[1]


There are many lessons from the story of the Alamo. One is the drive for freedom inside of us. God did not create us to be enslaved people. He created us for freedom.


The apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus went to the cross to give us freedom in every aspect. Galatians 5:1 (NKJV) reads:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Freedom begins with spiritual freedom from the bondage of sin. It continues with every aspect of our lives.


A second lesson is that apparent defeat can turn into victory. As the Alamo fell, I am sure Santa Ana thought he would quickly end the Texans’ attempt at independence. We know that the Alamo inspired Texans to fight for victory over the Mexicans. Texas’ independence is similar to America’s War for Independence against Great Britain. The Americans lost battles but eventually defeated the British and became independent.


Let’s make an application to Jesus and the cross. There can be no doubt that Jesus’ enemies thought they had defeated Him by crucifying Him. However, on the first day of the week, He proved to be the Victor. He resurrected and appeared to His disciples, issuing them His marching orders (Matthew 28:18-20). His apparent defeat turned into His eternal victory.


Thank God for Jesus and His willingness to embrace the cross for us. He was victorious over sin and death. He paved the way for our freedom (Hebrews 12:1-2).


As an adult, I visited the Alamo on more than one occasion. People told me that I would be disappointed, but I never was. I have walked the grounds of that sacred place imagining those Patriots laying down their lives for freedom. That is the third lesson from their story. Jesus explains the concept in John 15:13 (NKJV): “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”


On one of my visits, I found the location of where some historians believe William Travis drew the famous “line in the sand.” I imagined as Jim Bowie asked his friends to carry him in his sickbed across the line to declare his loyalty to the cause. The fourth lesson I can see is that sometimes we need to declare our loyalty even if it costs us. The men at the Alamo paid the ultimate price for liberty. Jesus paid our sin debt at His cross and freed us, though it cost His life. Martyrs have chosen to die rather than submit to evil authoritarian rule.


There comes a time in our lives when we have to declare our loyalties. That declaration may cost us time, resources, and even our lives. We are loyal to God, who gives us freedom and rights. We are to maintain and use them as good stewards of what He gives.


When we have had the privilege of freedom, it is a sin to let it go. “We the people” are the governing force of our land to uphold freedom. Christians are part of “we the people.” Shouldn’t we too engage in this spiritual war? Should we not resist when leaders oppose God? Do we not want our posterity to have freedom now as well as in heaven?


Some people in this world are so oppressed that the only freedom is in the world to come. It does not have to be that way for Americans and others who enjoy freedom now and then. Put on the whole armor of God and stand. God will ultimately bring victory.


Let’s Keep The Light of the Alamo’s Lessons Burning!

[1] Federer, William J. American Minute. St. Louis, Amerisearch, Inc., 2012, p.61.