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

April 19, 2019

This is a repost of an article I wrote last year with a couple of minor changes.

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.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce Booher permalink
    April 19, 2019 8:21 pm

    After years of hearing that I always said sure, that is the greatest love any can share. You hear stories of soldiers covering a grenade to save his platoon. But as you point out, it is more than that. He and only He chose to freely give His life. But even more than that, He chose a blood sacrifice, the ultimate blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of others. So many levels of redemption.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 20, 2019 6:35 pm

      Well said, it is so powerful when you just sit down and think about what He did for us!

      Like

  2. Doug Weber permalink
    April 20, 2019 12:09 pm

    Thanks for your inspiring thoughts Steve. I pray that you and your family have a Blessed Easter. Hallelujah, Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. April 20, 2019 10:14 pm

    Thanks for this Steve!
    He has Risen indeed! and continues to in our hearts and minds via the Holy Spirit!
    By the Lovingkindness and Grace of Christ Jesus we live.
    Blessed Times.
    I bet they experienced an “awesome morning!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 21, 2019 6:27 am

      Thank you Zip! It’s hard to imagine what was going through their minds on this morning!

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 21, 2019 1:34 pm

        Ur welcome.
        We can tell that the women didn’t know Joseph & Nicodemus had already anointed and prepared the body before the sepulchre was sealed shut. Or they figured they had to do their part too? only God knows.
        It’s interesting that God gives honor and recognition to these women, unlike the fallen world spirit or gods (devils) of religions that garb them in Black (both muslim & nuns)!

        Liked by 1 person

      • April 21, 2019 5:39 pm

        That is an interesting contrast with the Muslims isn’t it? I never really thought about the nuns like that but that is a great point!

        Like

      • April 21, 2019 5:41 pm

        I read a book that talked about how astonishing it was that it was the women who were the first witnesses because at that time women were not allowed to be witnesses in disputes. God was sending a message!

        Like

  4. April 21, 2019 6:15 am

    Wishing you and yours a blessed Easter Steve,,,

    Liked by 1 person

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