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Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends

March 18, 2018

john-15-13  John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (KJV) This is a relatively simple Bible verse to understand on the surface–to lay down one’s life to protect a friend is the greatest love a person can display toward a person he truly loves. To give your life to save a life, what more dedication can a person show, but how many people are actually willing to do it? Most of us think we would do it but none of us know how we would react to a life or death situation until/unless it presents itself to us. 

  But while this Bible verse is easy to understand from a human standpoint it comes with greater implications when put into context because Jesus laid down his life willingly for His friends; past, present, and future–not just the eleven. Or should I say the twelve? Could Judas have been saved if he repented and asked for forgiveness instead of killing himself? Just a thought, I do not know…

  Jesus laid down His life willingly (more on that shortly) to save all of us–we are all Jesus’ friends if we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. I use John 15:14 as an example of this when Jesus says “you are all my friends.” Jesus is talking directly to His apostles here but Jesus died for all of us, not just His apostles, so I believe all disciples of Christ are included in this teaching. (If I have misinterpreted this verse or applied too broad of an interpretation here I will gladly accept correction.)

  I am “tempted” here to say Jesus laid down His life for people He did not know but I am reminded of Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” so He does know us and He saved us, but He did more than save our bodies, He saved our souls.

  This brings me to John 10:18: “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” (KJV) I get a shiver down my spine every time I read these words! The Pharisees and the Sadducees were looking for excuses to kill Jesus from early on but every time they tested Him (do not put the Lord your God to the test, Deuteronomy 6:19, Luke 4:12) Jesus had a brilliant response they could not counter. But when Jesus’ time had come and it was time for Him to be glorified His life was not taken from Him, He laid it down willingly. This is incredibly powerful to me!

  During Jesus’ illegal trial it must have seemed odd to his accusers that instead of defending Himself He remained mostly silent, but on the occasions on which He spoke He seemed to condemn Himself. It must have seemed to His accusers that He wanted to die, but that is not true. Matthew 26:39 shows us Jesus did not want to die  but Jesus knew that He needed to die to save us all and that is a huge difference! 

 This leads me to another powerful verse: “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 KJV)

  A ransom is defined as “a sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner.” The “other payment demanded” was the life of Jesus and the prisoners who were released are all of those who are slaves to sin (Romans 6:20 NIV) if we accept the ransom as paid in full.

  So in closing I will ask, are you one of Jesus’ friends? Have you accepted the ransom?

  I had intended to end this post here but it occurred to me after rereading what I wrote that my post is not quite complete, in fact it seems a little watered down. I made it sound as if, in today’s equivalent and admittedly probably a bad analogy, all you have to do is like or friend Jesus on Facebook and all will be okay. But Jesus added a condition which I neglected when He said “you are all friends” in John 15:14 because Jesus continues with “if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

  It is not enough to say you love Jesus, you have to live Jesus and obey Jesus. I will be the first to admit this is not always easy to do. Jesus’ last command is known as the great commission and it comes to us in Matthew 28:19: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” This is something I struggle with but I pray that by beginning to open up about my faith on America’s Watchtower it will eventually give me the confidence to spread the Word in person.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2018 4:41 pm

    No comments yet so I’ll jump in!
    An interesting topic. I like how you note a relationship w/ God isn’t some ‘flash in the pan’ like today’s plastic or digital world view.
    In the ‘thinking’ of the day, even ‘opening, or holding a door open’ for someone is considered passé or of an inconvenience.
    Most parents/grandparents have that love and commitment to sacrifice themselves for their children, but the ‘teaching of the day’ by the Hive Mind ~ Collective Consciousness is ‘enjoy yourself’ don’t be tied down with kids. ‘Have fun’ and abort the rest.
    The closes we come to Sacrificial Love in the physical realm, are those parents who give up their lives for their kids (the needs of their children over their own selfish desires) or soldiers fighting to protect the lives and rights of others. But none compares to what Jesus did.
    I think what Jesus dreaded most of all was being separated from the Oneness and LOVE he had with His Father ~ because when he took on the ‘sin of the world’ God turned away his face from him.
    Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:
    “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:8
    That probably was more ‘death’ than the actual physical death.
    I suppose Adam and Eve had a taste of that when they were kicked out of the Garden and no longer able to walk and commune with the LORD.
    I remember in Sunday School the lady teacher asked, “Who would like Jesus to be your friend?” I raised my hand. All these many years later I’m still learning (God’s Spirit showing me) what that means: ‘consciously understanding’ more fully! A friendship with God is what some of us have been longing for since we popped out into this world! (whether we ‘realize it or not’). A ‘reunion’ with the One Who Truly Loves us, Who Made us and Made a Way (the Lord Jesus Christ) for us to stand before Him one day in pure delight, accepted, beloved and in oneness!
    John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
    “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” Titus1:2

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 19, 2018 6:42 pm

      Thanks Zip, great comments! I think there are quite a few people who are not comfortable talking about this so they do not comment. I have gotten some likes on this post and have had good reaction of Facebook but not many comments.
      I am glad I wasn’t off about talking about Jesus as a friend, I almost threw the post away because I was unsure but decided to add that disclaimer instead.
      I believe you are right about Jesus feeling separated from the Father but I never thought about Adam and Eve feeling the same way but they must have.

      Liked by 1 person

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