Scripture Reading: John 15:12-17
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Jesus is speaking of the sacrificial love He has for us. There is no greater love than this: “that someone lays down his life for his friends.” There are very few people for whom I would die. I have many friends, but I would not be willing to forfeit my life for them. I would gladly give my life for my wife, my children, and my grandchildren; but I can only think of only a couple of friends that I would be willing to die for.
Implied in Jesus’ words is the fact that He identifies us as the friends He gave His life for. We are friends of God; friends with the omnipotent, eternal Creator of the universe. The only person I know of in the Old Testament who was called a “friend of God” was Abraham (II Chronicles 20:7). Yet, Jesus says we are His friends and He loves us so much that He laid down His life for us.
Jesus’ love is not only sacrificial; it is also eternal. Jesus will never stop loving the friends He laid down His life for. Nothing can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39). He loves us in spite of our failures. He loves us no matter what and His love for us will never end.
Loving someone enough to die for them is an illustration we can grasp. However, we cannot grasp the extent of Jesus’ love for us; it is incomprehensible (Ephesians 3:19). Jesus’ death was more than a physical death for His friends; it was an atoning death accomplished on our behalf. Jesus took upon Himself the sins of His friends and paid the price they rightly owed God. He bore the wrath of God for them in His death. This moves His love to an even greater depth. There can be no other love like His. In a limited way, we can love others and even love them enough to die for them. Such an act would be the greatest expression of love we could give. Jesus went beyond this; He suffered the pain of hell, the wrath of God, and separation from His Father in our place when He died for us. There is no greater love than this!
Lord Jesus, friend of sinners, my friend, You loved me and gave your life for me. I am unworthy to be called Your friend. Yet You loved me enough to lay down your life for me. I cannot fully comprehend the extent of Your love, especially when I face my unworthiness. There is no greater love than the love You have shown me in Your death.
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