Battle of the Alamo – The Incredible Journey

It’s right here in San Antonio, Texas, America. An ancient Cathedral but it’s really one of the most famous battle sites in history. A few brave men taking on an entire army and what’s amazing is that this disaster actually led to the creation of a new state and a new country This is the very place where Davy Crockett, the famed frontiersman and James Bowie, the renowned knife fighter and Colonel William Travis, took a stand for freedom and changed the course of history Come with me and let’s take a look at the intriguing Battle of the Alamo Texas, it’s the second-largest American state in both size and population, but it’s second to none when it comes to state pride. When you visit Texas you soon find out that everything really is bigger in Texas. Texas produces more crude oil than any other state in the US, it’s also the leading cattle, cotton and wool producer. Texas has the largest state capitol building of all the 50 states, the most airports, the largest ranch, the first dome sports stadium and how about this, the first word spoken from the moon was a Texas location Texas is the only state in the US to have flown the flag off six separate nations throughout its history Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America. It’s all part of that pride of Texas; being bigger, stronger, better, faster, richer To understand this state pride and history we’re going to visit where modern Texas actually began dramatically. Where it began quite unexpectedly In 1519 the Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda was the first European to reach Texas Other Spanish explorers soon followed, they claimed the land for Spain The Spanish wanted to protect their new territory and guard against anyone else claiming it. They decided that the best way to do this was to build a chain of five missions along the San Antonio River. The mission system was developed with three major purposes in mind, firstly to spread the Christian message and convert the Native Americans to the Catholic faith, secondly to extend Spanish civilisation by introducing the Spanish way of life to the Native Americans and thirdly to defend the northern border of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. So, the five frontier mission complexes, established along a 12 kilometre stretch of the San Antonio River were the Spanish crowns effort to evangelise, colonise and defend the northern frontier of New Spain. If Spain could recruit the natives to become members of the Catholic Church and citizens of Spain, it could claim and control the entire region of Texas Here the missionaries taught the local natives specific vocations. The men learned farming skills, carpentry, blacksmithing, ranching, masonry, stone cutting and building. The women were taught textile weaving, sewing, cooking and hand crafts. The missionaries introduced the natives to the Spanish way of life. They endeavoured to make life in the mission communities similar to that of Spanish villagers Military forces were often located in the vicinity of each mission, to offer protection and enforce law and order This chain of missions became the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America The southern most mission was San Francisco de la Espada, it was established here in 1731 and was known for its beautiful Chapel and unique stone entrance. It was

the only mission to make bricks and so the influence of the native artisans from this mission is evident throughout the region. Several kilometres upstream Mission San Juan was established in the same year, 1731 It became the supplier of iron, wood, leather and cloth products made by the local Indians in its workshop It was also a centre for agriculture, with its rich farm and pasture lands, it was a regional supplier of agricultural products. The next in the chain is Mission San Jose, it was founded in 1720 and is the largest mission in the area, it has an imposing church with large picturesque arches. The size of the complex, along with unique architecture of the church and the richness of its fields, ensure that it became a major social centre in the region. Several kilometres further upstream, is Mission Concepcion, it’s considered the most attractive of the missions, it’s an imposing cross shaped structure with a beautiful interior. Of all the missions, this is the only church building that is never collapsed, today it’s the oldest unrestored stone church in America. The fifth and last of the five missions is the oldest and unquestionably the most famous San Antonio de Valero, this building attracts people from all over the world it has an ornate facade and a distinctive architectural hump. This complex, this church, this shrine, was established in 1718 But by the late 1700s the number of native converts had dwindled at most of the Spanish missions and the rich lands were coveted by others. In order to defend its land, Spain sent soldiers to the region and in 1803 100 Spanish soldiers and their families from Mexico moved into the mission The mission’s old convent became an army barrack and the second story became a military hospital, the first hospital in Texas. Soon people were calling the old mission, the Alamo. But trouble was brewing, Mexico’s people grew unhappy with Spanish rule, they wanted to govern themselves. In 1821 Mexico finally won its independence from Spain and gained control of Texas. Texas became a troubled area for the new Mexican government Native Indians who lived here often fought with Mexicans who moved into the area The government decided that the solution was to develop the area. Now to do this they needed more people, more settlers, living in Texas, so they offered cheap land to US citizens who promised to settle here. But then in 1830 Mexico’s president, Bustamante, banned US citizens from immigrating to Texas. The land was so cheap and plentiful here and apparently too many Americans were coming in and settling here. In fact there were more Americans than Mexicans living in Texas and the Mexican President saw them as a threat, so he outlawed them. Now this made the American colonists very angry, they held a convention and proposed that Texas break away and become a separate state. This city of San Antonio, a little colony back then, was captured by the rebellious Texans with Stephen Austin in 1835 Now Austin was the commander of the Texan army and they fortified this Alamo, this former mission, that was a bit like a fortress in the centre of town In 1836 the Texans formally declared independence at Washington on the Brazos Now the battles really began, but this is rather odd because General Sam Houston had felt that holding San Antonio and the Alamo was impossible and unnecessary, because most of the US colonists were settled far to the east of this city in Texas So he sent Jim Bowie, famous knife fighter, here. Orders were to destroy the Alamo and returned with all the men and artillery stationed here. But Bowie decided to ignore Houston’s orders, he felt San Antonio should be defended, it seemed the most important town in Texas and these men had accurate rifles and a handful of cannons, maybe this small number of Texans could hold the city indefinitely against all the odds

The official commander here was Lieutenant Colonel William Travis, he had about 200 defenders and half of them weren’t even enlisted soldiers, just volunteers technically they could come and go as they pleased, they also wanted to listen to the famous knife fighter and frontiersman, Jim Bowie, more than Travis Mexican general Santa Ana came here with a big army and laid siege to the area, the defenders had to retreat into the relative safety of the Alamo The men looked out from these walls and saw something, a red flag, what did that mean? Well it meant no quarter would be given from Santa Ana, no life would be spared even with surrender, everyone was going to die and under siege these men had to sometimes forage to get supplies, fortunately they did have a well the convento dug in the 1700s, those 200 Alamo defenders got their water here sometimes gathered here, but they needed more, more soldiers, Colonel Travis busied himself sending out requests for help and just a few groups managed to come in through enemy line. Inside the Alamo compound there’s a monument, just outside the long barrack, to 32 brave men who made their way somehow from the nearby settlement of Gonzales and yes they would perish like the others. Now here’s where legend begins, this plaque commemorates the William Travis line, Colonel Travis realised that the situation of the Alamo defenders was hopeless, they were all going to die and so on the night of March 5 he took his sword and he drew a line in the sand he challenged his battle weary men this way, as the plaque says, “Those prepared to give their lives in freedom’s cause, come over to me!” Every man stepped across that line, well it seemed like everyone, one man actually fled the Alamo that night. Now by then Jim Bowie was sick in bed with a debilitating illness, but he asked his men to carry him across the line, he just had to still be one of the defenders, those defenders made a statement they took a stand, they were committed to the cause of independence, they wanted freedom and they were willing to die for it. Now let’s look at the actual Alamo battle, in 1836 this building saw the battle begin and get more and more brutal, the people inside the Alamo were surrounded, the defenders had to retreat inside once these outer walls had been breached, they held off the Mexican forces for thirteen days, then early in the morning on March 6 Santa Ana’s soldiers fully attacked from their siege, they attacked the Alamo’s walls from all sides, these 200 Alamo men put up quite a fight. They had rifles, they had cannons, they blazed out from these walls and cut down many enemy soldiers, but more and more kept coming and soon the Mexican soldiers had succeeded in climbing the walls, in the end there were just too many soldiers in that enemy army, in 90 minutes they’d broken into the Alamo Yes, broken through the gates on the north side, broken through the stone walls, the Mexicans poured into the compound The Texans retreated to the long barracks to make a stand, they piled mattresses up against the doors the Mexicans simply rolled cannons up to the doors and fired, killing just about all the defenders, only a handful were taken as prisoners, but they were quickly executed, just some women and children in this compound were spared Now this seems like a disaster, right? Men who didn’t actually need to be here, half of them volunteers putting up a hopeless fight, all of them killed, the Alamo was indeed a tragedy and yet it would lead to the independence of this state, it would lead to Texas becoming essentially a nation. It would lead to freedom. Yes Texans made quite a stand here for freedom and I believe there’s a way that each one of us can identify with another

stand that creates a remarkable kind of freedom. Do you realise that God actually made a stand in the person of Jesus Christ? He came into a world of cruelty and bloodshed he came into a world of constant war and endless conflicts in the human heart and he gave himself up at a certain spot a hill called Golgotha He laid his body down on a cross. Yes the Battle of the Alamo strikingly pictures the stand made by Jesus Christ at Golgotha, that Messiah, that hero, enables each of us, no matter what our losses, what our problems, to get into a new Kingdom a new Kingdom of Heaven. This is what Jesus proclaimed in Mark chapter 1 and verse 15, “The time has come.” He said “The kingdom of God is near. Repent, and believe the good news.” Accepting Christ, accepting his sacrifice in our place does create a new Kingdom for us, we belong as beloved sons and daughters to this divine royalty. We have an identity in heaven, we have a place where we can find peace and be secure. Yes it can come to us, in the midst of our worst troubles, when Jesus freed individuals from oppression, when he brought them peace, he said in Luke chapter 11 and verse 20, “No doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” The stand that Jesus Christ made on that hill, it did indeed create a new nation and each of us can be citizens of his kingdom. Let me tell you specifically how the Battle of the Alamo led to freedom, that fight actually proved quite costly to Santa Ana the Mexican general, he lost about 600 soldiers that day and several of his officers were appalled that he didn’t wait for some cannons being brought to the battlefield, wait for a much better bombardment, but here’s what made a real impact in Texas, the martyrdom of those inside this Alamo, word got out about the heroic defence mounted by 200 outnumbered men, it’s spread, it inspired many new recruits to flock to the cause, the ranks of the Texan army swelled In less than two months general Sam Houston would crush the Mexicans in the Battle of San Jacinto, he destroyed a large part of the Mexican army and captured general Santa Ana himself, and as they ran into battle those Texans shouted, “Remember the Alamo!” as a battle cry. That battle ended the war and gave birth to the Republic of Texas on April 21 1836, so the Alamo played an important part in the formation of America and impacted world history. It led to the annexation of Texas by the United States and ultimately to America expanding its border to the Pacific Ocean, it gave the United States vast new territories full of wealth and promise that contributed to its role as a world power that has played a major role in world affairs This tower celebrates that. It’s the Spirit of Sacrifice Cenotaph, sculpted from Georgia marble, it stands on a base of pink Texas granite you see sculptures around it paying tribute to the men who died rather than surrender to overwhelming odds. According to tradition this Alamo Cenotaph marks the very spot where the slain defenders of the fortified mission were piled after the battle and burned in great funeral pyres. Their remains were later collected by local citizens and today are located in a marble casket at nearby San Fernando Cathedral and here’s what it says, “They chose never to surrender nor retreat, these brave hearts with flags still proudly waving, perished in the flames of immortality, that their high sacrifice might lead to the founding of this Texas.” Yes, today the Battle of the Alamo has achieved legendary status, particularly in Texas, the defenders are remembered as great heroes, Bowie and Travis and others all have things named after them

including cities, counties, parks, schools and more. Well what about that other stand? That stand of Christ on a hill called Golgotha, I believe each of us has a choice to make when were confronted with this remarkable life, that spills out before us at the cross. What are we going to do with this God, who sacrifices himself? With this God who takes on the penalty of our sins? With this God who takes a stand for our freedom? You see the Bible says that were all sinners, that we’ve all made mistakes and rebelled against God and deep down we know that’s true, the Bible also tells us that the penalty for sin, for rebellion against God, is death. But God is love and he couldn’t bear the thought of us dying for our sins and so he took a stand against sin and evil and He gave His Son Jesus to die in our place and pay the penalty for our sins and now he offers us the gift of forgiveness and gives us freedom. Please notice what the Bible says here in Romans chapter 6 and verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” So how do we respond to God and his offer? Well I believe we have to take a stand ourselves, each of us must choose this place as our starting point, here where Christ poured out his life, I’m going to begin my life. It’s true if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything and plenty of people are falling in our world today. They’re falling into animosity, into conflict, but we can make a stand and the cross is the place to make it. It’s where we stand for freedom, it’s where we accept our responsibility for our problems, it’s where we find forgiveness, it’s where we can stake a claim to the love the Heavenly Father offers his lost children Let me show you one of the most fascinating stands in San Antonio This is the Tower of the Americas a 250 meter observation tower and restaurant located in downtown San Antonio. Looking out these windows you get a very clear view of how much Texas has grown since that Battle of the Alamo, how much it has taken in through freedom and the Tower of the Americas also reflects the tower of Golgotha, that cross of Christ, so much can come our way when we stand fast in the true grace that comes to us from the cross. The cross is where peace begins, it’s where grace begins, it’s where freedom spreads out, listen to Paul’s great challenge in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 1 “Stand fast therefore in the Liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Christ paid the ultimate price for our freedom He made a stand. He carried the cross to Calvary. He hung alone there between heaven and earth, so please make a stand there, don’t go back to a life of bondage, rather, focus on Jesus and the life that speaks to you at Calvary. When Christ gave up his life he was stretching out his arms to the end not just because they were nailed to the wood, no, he was stretched out in forgiveness, “They know not what they do,” he was stretched out in acceptance, “You will be with me in paradise,” that’s the kind of stand he made and we need to make a stand with the one who gave himself up, who stands for freedom. Are you ready to go to that place? Are you ready to bring your life to a hill called Calvary? Are you ready to confess your sins? Are you ready to look the crucified Christ in the eye and say ‘Here I am’? I invite you to make your stand right now with the God of grace and freedom I invite you to place your trust entirely in the one who takes on all your burdens and gives you freedom right now as we pray Dear father, we come just as we are to the cross of Jesus Christ, we come not because we’re good enough, but because we

need the life that is poured out there for each one of us, we need your forgiveness, we need your accepting us as sons and daughters of God. Thank you for making this sacrificial stand at Calvary, thank you for dying in our place and laying down your life for our Redemption, we accept this gladly and gratefully in the name of our saviour Jesus, amen The Battle of the Alamo, where 200 brave men took a stand for freedom and changed the course of history, continues to inspire people around the world, their story resonates with us because we value freedom and understand its importance Freedom allows us to speak, act, pursue happiness and live life as we choose. God intends that we should be free and happy and has placed the desire for freedom in our hearts. That’s his plan for our lives and in the Bible he shares the secrets of freedom and true happiness. If you would like to know more about God’s plan for your life and the freedom that he offers, then I’d like to recommend the free gift we have for all our viewers today, it’s a booklet called Secrets of Freedom – Worth the Sacrifice. This booklet is our gift to you and is absolutely free There are no costs or obligations whatsoever This booklet will provide you with a new insight into the importance of true freedom and happiness and how to find it So please, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to receive the free gift we have for you today. Here’s the information you need Phone us now on 0481 315 101 or text us on 0491 222 999 or visit our website: to request today’s free offer. So don’t delay contact us right now If you’ve enjoyed today’s journey, be sure to join us again next week when we will share another of life’s journeys together and experience another new and thought-provoking perspective on the peace, insight, understanding and hope that only the Bible can give us, The Incredible Journey truly is television that changes lives Until next week, remember the ultimate destination of life’s journey. “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death nor sorrow nor crying, there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”