On July 20, 2012, at a midnight showing for the movie The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora Colorado, James Holmes released several tear gas canisters into a packed theater and began shooting into the crowd mercilessly and indiscriminately.
Holmes first emptied his 12 gauge shotgun into the stunned onlookers, then he coldly moved to his semi-automatic rifle and continued to maim and murder as many moviegoers as he could.
As you can imagine, the scene was chaotic. People who, ten minutes earlier, were ecstatic to finally watch the conclusion to their beloved Dark Knight Trilogy were now disoriented by the tear gas, fearing for their lives, and watching as those around them were shot in cold blood. The event was described by survivors as a “bloodbath.” This was the stuff of nightmares.
In the end, 12 people were dead, 70 were injured, and a nation was shaken.
John Blunk, a 25 year old man who had previously served in the U.S. military, was in the theater that night with his girlfriend Jansen. As Holmes began to fire into John and Jansen’s row, John pushed Jansen under the seat beneath him and used his body to shield her from the bullets.
John hid her. He covered her. He took a bullet for her. Ultimately, he died for her.
At his funeral John was rightfully hailed as a hero for his actions.
Obviously John wasn’t a perfect man. He had made plenty of mistakes in his life. But, in the end, John made the ultimate sacrifice for Jansen. He died so that she may live.
That is love - and it is a powerful, albeit imperfect, picture of what Christ has done for us.
In my place condemned He stood; sealed my pardon with His blood. ~Philip Bliss