Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center provides a powerful look at a very small slice of what happened on 9/11. The story centers on two Port Authority officers, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, their families, and the efforts to rescue the two men as they lay trapped beneath tons of rubble.
By the end of that fateful day, most of the professional rescue workers had suspended their efforts because of concerns about working in darkness atop the unstable piles of debris and rubble. Only a handful of people continued to work through the remains in an effort to locate survivors. Two of these were Dave Karnes and Jason Thomas. Both were former Marines and each had independently made the decision earlier in the day to travel to ground zero and offer his assistance. They met at the rescue site and together began to look through the rubble. After about an hour of searching, they heard someone responding to their calls. It was Will Jimeno. By that time, he and McLoughlin had been trapped for nine long, grueling hours. In the movie, Karnes tells Jimeno:
Hang on. Just hang on, okay?
Jimeno calls out in pleading desperation, Don’t leave us! We’ve been here a long time!
We’re not leaving you, buddy. We’re Marines. You are our mission.
Jimeno begins laughing! He is so full of joy to know that his potential rescuers weren’t going anywhere—that they were fully committed to saving him and his fellow officer. Three hours later he was brought out and after six more hours McLoughlin followed. They were numbers eighteen and nineteen of the twenty people who were pulled form the ruins alive.
Satan has launched his own attack on our world and the devastation is all around us. There are broken lives, crushed spirits, and ruined relationships everywhere you look. There is injustice, unfaithfulness, brutality . . . the list is as long as we care to make it. We’ve had our own part in it of course, but he’s provided us with the weaponry. And we’ve used it to our own destruction and the destruction of others. As a result, many of us are buried so far beneath the rubble that we have no idea that rescue is even possible.
But it is.
Christ came and lived among the ruined. He didn’t come and say a few nice words, offer a prayer, and go back home. Nor did He come and distribute a few things to the needy and then move on. He made His home among the ruined! And when it was time to die for the ruined, we looked up and said, “Don’t leave us! We’ve been trapped here for so long!” And He told us He would die for us because we were His mission.
And that’s what He did.
God raised Him from the dead because it was impossible for Someone that good to be stopped by something that bad. The resurrection means that the rescue Jesus offers to us is not just a nice thought, it’s real. The same power that brought Jesus up out of the grave is available to us (Ephesians 1:19ff). Therefore, nothing in life or death can take away our hope.
An empty tomb means we’re full of hope!