Summary: Do you know what a hero is? How many of you have a hero? Are your heroes from the Bible or from real life? How many have heroes from the Bible? How many have heroes from real life?

Jesse is a hero

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

Do you know what a hero is? How many of you have a hero? Are your heroes from the Bible or from real life? How many have heroes from the Bible? How many have heroes from real life?

Today I’m going to tell you the story of Jesse. Jesse lived in Mexico a long time ago. Before you were born. Before your parents were born. Jesse’s story is special because he always wanted to become a hero.

Jesse’s family was poor. His father was a blacksmith. Jesse’s father needed the help of his children and he taught them his trade and they helped him in the shop but that didn’t keep Jesse from going to school. He learned to read and write. He learned numbers. But most of all he learned about history and about heroes. He loved those stories of heroes from the past.

He loved the story don Miguel Hidalgo, the priest that began the revolt against the Spanish crown. He loved the story of the struggles to make Mexico an independent country. Like the story of “El Pipila”. This story took place when the revolutionary army tried to take the fortress where the Spaniards had taken refuge. The place was impossible to assault. But a young man, Juan José de los Reyes Martínez, “El Pipila”, strapped a paving stone to his back to shield himself from the bullets of the Spanish guns. “El Pipila” made his way to the front door of the fortress and set it on fire. “El Pipila” became the first hero of Mexico’s war of independence.

He was also one of Jesse’s heroes.

We know this because he would tell his teachers. “One day I want to be a hero”. He would repeat this phrase over and over. He wasn’t satisfied with having heroes. He wanted to become one.

Jesse’s life wasn’t an easy one. When he was only 15 his father died. The family moved to a mining town, Nacozari, up in the mountains of northern Mexico, in Sonora. Without a father Jesse and his brothers had to look for work.

Jesse applied for work at the mining company. He was hired as a waterboy. His task was to provide water to the locomotives. This was before electric trains. This was before diesel trains. The trains run on steam. To provide steam you need water and fire. Jesse’s job was to provide water to the locomotive engines.

But Jesse was smart and soon he was promoted to maintaining the rails, then to be in charge of the breaks, later he became a fireman. By the time Jesse was 20 he had become an engineer.

I want to talk about heroes for a minute. What does it take to be a hero? Sometimes it requires to make a big discovery in the field of science, like medicine. If you were to discover the cure for AIDS, you would be a hero. Or the cure for cancer. You would be a hero not only in Beltsville, or Washington, or the United States, you would be a hero around the world.

Christopher Columbus became a hero when he discovered America. He had the idea to get to the east going west. And it worked.

Neil Armstrong became a hero when he set foot on the moon.

They are both heroes in every part of the world.

You could be a hero in the world of sports.

Mark Spitz became the first and only man to win 7 Olympic gold medals. He won more gold medals in a single Olympics than any athlete in Olympic history. At the Olympics in Munich in 1972, Spitz won gold medals in the individual 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle and the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly races. The other three gold medals were won as member of relay teams. He became an overnight hero. You could see his poster, displaying his 7 gold medals everywhere.

Nadia Comaneci became the hero of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada. That year, the 15 year old Romanian took three gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in gymnastics. After the Olympics she was awarded the gold medal of a Hero of the Socialist Party, the youngest Romanian to do so. After a long career in gymnastics, in 1999 she was awarded as one of the great female athletes of the century. She certainly is a hero.

You know you are a hero when people take your name and give it to their children. After 1976 a great number of mother named their daughters Nadia. I have a niece that was named after Nadia Comaneci.

Music can turn you into a hero. Your generation has Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Cristina Aguilera, and Britney Spears, to name a few. They are today’s pop heroes. A previous generation had Michael Jackson and The Beatles, and Elvis Presley. They are our music heroes.

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