Perhaps during your school days you heard the lines of Tennyson’s famous poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade:
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”…
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
As poet laureate of England, Tennyson wrote the poem in honor of a brigade of light cavalry who rode into the face of the Russian cannons on the 25th of October, 1854 at Balaklava during the Crimean War.
English Lord Cardigan had received a vague order, passed through several hands, to recapture the big guns which were not even in view. Who gave the order? It was a fatal order. He knew this. But Cardigan mounted up anyway, along with the 600 men of the light brigade – knowing they would face, as Tennyson put it, “cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them, cannon in front of them.” They charged into the heart of the Russian army, risking it all rather than disobey an order.
Very few returned that day. Their unwavering, unquestioning obedience, even in the face of an order they did not understand, was immortalized in Tennyson’s poem – “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.”
So obedience, submitting to a higher will, can cost you your life. The Bible says that Jesus “became obedient even to the point of death.” He rode into Jerusalem, then marched to Gethsemane, to trial and to Golgotha, knowing what was waiting.
But who gave the order? Some blundering general behind an office desk? Who wanted Jesus dead? Caiphas? The Jewish leaders? Governor Pilate? Barabbas who may have figured: “Better Him than me?” To some extent, they all wanted Jesus dead. But who really gave the order?
It was God the Father Himself who gave the order, who so loved the world, who so loved you and me. It was no blunder. It was no mistake. It was love. The Son obeyed the order, not because He did not understand the order, but because He did understand it. So much He loved us. And so He won our hearts!