“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 NKJV
This is certainly a very familiar verse to many Christians. It is quoted often, especially when praising heroic actions of soldiers, law enforcement, emergency response and good samaritans. It’s true. It’s written in red, spoke from Jesus’ lips. Jesus Himself succeeds in this ultimate act of heroism, laying down His physical life in defense of ours. No greater love!
This verse has been repeatedly coming to my attention for several weeks now. It has come in a number of media forms, and various context. I have read this verse, discussed this verse, studied this verse, examined the context and pondered the possibilities.
I think most of the folks reading this devotion, could with confidence and conviction, state that they would be willing to lay down their life in the defense of another. There is no doubt Jesus is speaking of such an act in this verse. Sacrifice your life, so that another can live.
My study and meditation over the past few weeks has brought me to an additional perspective. I believe that Jesus is also referencing another form of death, a figurative one, that is no less heroic. That is to “die to self”. To sacrifice your physical life to save another’s is certainly a noble act and I would never diminish that. However, equally noble is taking up your cross, dying to sin and self, so that you can have life and help lead others from death to life through Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:10 (NKJV) For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
I believe John 15:13 is as much about the spiritual sacrificial death, as the physical. After all, what greater service can one provide another, than allowing God to use you to lead another to Jesus? There is none greater. That’s our mission.
Die to sin, confess, repent and continue forward a champion and example of Jesus’ love, grace and mercy. It is imperative to put the needs, physical and spiritual, of those around you ahead of your own. To the husbands and fathers reading this, lead your family in the way of the Lord. Lead by example. Share quality time with your family, share the bible, admit when you fail, love them, guide them, teach them. Die to sin and self, put others first, so that they may live in the fullness of the Lord, due to the example God provides through your sacrificial death. So often it’s merely a matter of doing what you may not want to do, or not doing what you may want to, proceeding in a course of action that you know to be right and life giving to another. Living a life glorifying God in word and action, being a Godly example is a tremendous act of heroism and love.
In the context of the current animosity and division being cultivated in our great country, right this moment, what is your reaction? Seriously, what is your example? Are you dying to self, checking your ego and hubris and offering love and encouragement? Would you “lay down your life”, figuratively or literally?
I pray if the moment should come and I’m faced with the decision to defend another’s life to my own death, that I would respond quickly, resolutely and without hesitation. In the mean time, I have the opportunity to die every day, in my day to day, that others may live. Whether dying in the flesh or dying to sin and self for the life of another, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this”. I will challenge myself and all of you to go forth today, remember John 15:13 and “die to self”. Save a life today! God bless you!
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,