John 15:13,14 – “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.
When reading this verse, most of us probably view it in terms of ourselves, thinking about our own love for others. How strong is that love? Would I, would you, give up your life – your plans, your family, your future – to save those same things for someone else? When asking myself, ‘Would you die for someone else?’, my immediate thought was ‘it depends who it is’. I don’t say this in jest or with flippancy, it’s simply an honest reaction of the heart.
Jesus had told the people previously that he was willing to lay down his life for each and every one of them. Many, though, would not have understood at the time because he spoke of the good shepherd and his sheep. He wanted them to understand just how deep his love for them truly was. It was a love that extended to all mankind; every thief, every Barabbas, every Judas. Can you even comprehend that depth of love? In his letter to the Romans, Paul reflects on this truth:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus died for enemy and friend alike with overwhelming love. Our service to Him should reflect that love. Think for a moment of your best or closest friend and the lengths you would go to for that friend. If you know and love the Lord, he thinks of you as a friend, as he says in John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants…but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
He shares all that he has with us and in return he asks “that you will love one another.”