Saturday, December 13, 1997
Officer 'didn't die in vain'
Excerpts of sermon at Spc. Jeter's service

BY ELDER TYUS NEDD
of the Rhema Christian Center

I listened to every single testimony, every word of encouragement, that came across this podium (during the service). I listened to one officer, and he said a word that rung through my heart for the last couple of days. He defined the word that our society has redefined and misused. He called our brother Ronald a hero.

Our society has defined hero as professional athletes, and defined heroes as verbs, people who do, not people who are. The broader culture and the broader generation - by misleading or misguiding the word that only can be defined by who you are and whose you are - they have taken the very fiber of a word hero and they have stripped it of its ability to lead and guide a nation unto what God created it to be.

Today we stand and we see a hero. We see a noun, we don't see a verb only. Because before you can have a verb you have to put a noun in front of a verb, to have a complete sentence. And so Ronald becomes a noun to us. He becomes a man who is, a man who was, and a man who will continue to be because he was a man who modeled his life after a hero.

And before you can model a hero you must know a hero. You can't replicate something you don't know. And so our society, because they never saw the model, they tried to replicate heroes through men who play basketball. They try to replicate heroes through men who can throw a football. They try to replicate heroes through men who can articulate words without living words. They try to replicate heroes through what they thought they could be and not what they should be.

And so we see a hero as a noun, a noun, a man who was a man, a man who looked for a man to give him a prototype of what he can be. So I looked for a prototype and I found the prototype to be only one man. That man was Jesus Christ. There is no other prototype on the face of planet Earth that we can ever model ourselves to give us the hero that we can be and should be. . . .

I stand before you, officers, because this is God's call in my life to stand before you. . . . I pray that God will protect you. . . .

I pray for you because society says you are only cops, but I saw you as champions on patrol. So today I must take you from being a champion to becoming a hero. And the only way I can take you on that journey is to get you to see the prototype, so I can get you out of just being people who work but people who are. People who are fathers to their sons and daughters. People who are mothers to their children. People who know the essence of what it is to love each other. . . .

Now Jesus Christ, the prototype, was sent to our earth just like Ron was. Two thousand years-plus ago, we see a figure of a prototype of a man coming to planet Earth. We see a man coming into a society that was hostile, a society that needed so much a hero, so much someone that they can identify with, so much because it was sin-infested . . . And so he took on something that people who say they're heroes by words and don't do it by action - he took on something because he knew he had to become a noun so you could become nouns . . .

I take you away from the hostile environment of Jerusalem, where the Roman Empire was in control, where they were killing and slaying babies because they didn't want a real hero to come on, because they were more concerned about artificial heroes instead of real. The same environment Ron was shoved into. . . .

We pick up and we see Jesus coming on as a 12-year-old young man. He comes up and he becomes a young man, full of stature and wisdom. (Spc. Jeter) speaks well, he has energy, he has muscles. He pumps weights, he's strong, he's attractive, he's energetic. He makes mistakes, but he keeps running. He saw a model in the Bible of a young man, 12 years old . . .

So even when he started lifting weights - you thought he was a Superman, he's the man of steel. No, he wasn't a man of steel, because that's mythology. He was a man of God. . . .

He had energy, he had determination. But yet still, he saw that that wasn't the complete picture of a model, of a hero, that still was a person doing actions without becoming a noun. So he picks Jesus' life up when Jesus becomes mature and a man, because Ron didn't want to be a boy, because a boy never takes responsibility and a man does. And so he picks up this mature Jesus Christ in the midst of a hostile territory, in the midst of people who didn't want him. In the midst of a community that didn't want Ron to come in there. He said, you need help but they said, we don't need help. But yet still he was willing to go because he saw a prototype. He saw Jesus go into an environment that didn't want him. He saw Jesus going where drugs were at, where prostitutes were at, where people who didn't want him were at. He saw it and said, I must go. If you went, I'll do it . . .

The reality is this: Truth is the only vehicle that God can use to free humanity. A lie is the only vehicle that can enslave a whole nation. The lie tells us that this man died in vain. No, no, there's no way that a hero can die in vain. Why do you think you're here? Because he didn't die in vain. He couldn't die in vain . . . If he could speak to me right now, his word would be, tell them the truth. Tell them about the model I found, Ty. Tell them to replicate it, because if they replicate it then they can become the hero that our society needs.

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