“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Bob and his wife had been looking forward to their vacation this holiday. It was time to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Bob was driving through the rocky mountains. Suddenly a near miss with an oncoming truck caused their car to swerve off the road. The family van plunged into the river. After hurrying out from the sinking vehicle, they tried to swim their way to the nearest land surface. The truck driver had also packed his car to come to the couple’s rescue. He threw a rope to them from where he stood along the shore. Bob, swimming behind his wife, realised both of them could not reach the rope since it was short. Therefore, he pushed the wife forward to where she could grab the rope. The man successfully pulled her to safety. However, Bob did not survive, and he was carried downstream and after which he died.
This husband had given his life for the woman he loved. Giving up your life for the sake of somebody else is the ultimate demonstration of true love. The night Judas betrayed Jesus, he told his disciples that he intended to give His life in exchange for humanity (John 14). In these final hours, Jesus was with those closest to him. These men had given up all over the priorities of their lives to follow Jesus. God prunes us by sanctifying us daily as we draw closer to Him. John Piper explains, “Jesus is the pattern and the power of that love. And He can be those for us, even though we are sinners, because He removed the wrath of God by laying down His life for us.”
Jesus died in our place. His crucifixion not only proved his love for us but also made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and have an eternal home in heaven (Hebrews 12:24). This greater love has everything to do with who He is more than us. We are to submit to his authority and obediently follow the truth of His word. Two birthmarks distinguish the true believer—their love for God and their love for one another. The “agape” love Jesus displayed is unconditional. This love is voluntary in every sense of the word. Jesus went to the cross voluntarily. In John 10:18, He says, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”
The Friends Of God
The greater love of Jesus is also victorious. Such is the power of the love of God. Many of the onlookers wondered, “what a tragedy.” The women cried, and many wept as Jesus was led to Golgotha to be crucified (Luke 23:28). Yet His death was not a tragedy; in fact, it is the most critical event in the history of humankind. You and I are friends of Jesus; the term friends is the clarification that all His disciples are His friends. Without a guarantee of reciprocation, Jesus, the model of friendship, poured His life out for His friends. The bible clearly shows the selfless love of Jesus.
King James Version (KJV)
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
New International Version (NIV)
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
New American Bible (NASB)
“Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends;”
This is a favourite verse of friends of mine who are firefighters and soldiers. Jesus laid down his life for us, and there’s no way we deserve it. But that gift was the ultimate gift of unconditional love. There is no greater example of Love.
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