I woke up this morning with the Bible verse “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” It’s not unusual for me to wake up with a scripture or worship song running through my head, however, this morning is Good Friday.
Jesus spoke these words in John 15:13, and then went on to model these words when He died on the cross for us. He did not just tell us how to love – He also showed us! I decided to go back and read all of John chapter fifteen – I’m glad I did and encourage you to do the same!
It begins with Jesus sharing other well known verses of Him being “the Vine” and us being “the branches,” and the importance of “abiding.” Let’s consider the two descriptive thoughts Jesus is using for us: branches and friends.
Jesus shares the necessity of our relationship with Him! It is only in abiding – being connected to Him – that we receive life and the ability to bear fruit. Growing up my children had the task every Spring of clearing our lawn of all the fallen branches from winter. They would collect them in a pile that we would later use as kindling in our fire pit. These were dead branches that detached from the trees during the winter – they were dead and only good for burning. Jesus shares the same thing about us – when we stop abiding and fall away and become disconnected – we are separated from the source of life, dry up and become fruitless – the only thing we are good for is fire. We need to remember today that Jesus went to the Cross and died to reconcile us to a life giving relationship with Him!
Jesus shares the responsibility we have in our relationship with each other! Those that love Him and are receiving life from Him become life givers themselves. They carry out His will and commands and live by His example. Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life, and then He laid down His life. We are to live our lives in ways that cause others to receive life themselves! How are you laying down your life and expressing the greatest love there is? We can’t pay for the sins of others like Jesus did – but we can follow His example of personal sacrifice for the benefit of others. We are called to be life givers, not life takers. As we mature in Christ, we must grow beyond just receiving, and become givers.
One Other Relationship
Shouldn’t living in obedience to Jesus’ commands, serving others, and being faithful to follow Scriptures, cause us to be accepted and loved? One would think.
But Jesus went on to tell us about our relationship with the World. More than likely you will be hated and rejected. Those that reject Jesus will also reject you.
In relating to the World, what will be your response?
During the week that led up to Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus moved quietly forward in His purpose of saving us. In the midst of hatred and violent rejection He did not turn back. Jesus would have carried His Cross even if Roman soldiers were not forcing Him to. His life purpose was to save life; to be and to demonstrate the greatest love, even to His enemies.
Awhile back someone said to me, “Well, Jesus knew He would rise again in three days – so what was the big deal of Him dying? Was it really a sacrifice?”
When Jesus was beaten and crucified He felt the weigh of your sin and pain of the beating just as you would. Imagine being flogged and having spikes driving through your wrists and feet. Now imagine that multipled by the number of people who had ever been born and who would ever be born. It was a big deal – it was the ultimate sacrifice!
Three days after being crucified, Jesus rose! He paid the penalty for all sin by giving His life. The Bible tells us that the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in those who have repented of their sins and been born again. This weekend, as we celebrate the Resurrection and all that Jesus has done for us, let’s determine to demonstrate the greatest love and move forward in our calling to lay down our lives for others. The best way to express love to Jesus is to live like Him!