Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
Commemorations of the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day in 2019 honored the more than 156,000 troops who took part in the largest seaborne invasion in history to liberate Western Europe. In his prayer broadcast over the radio on June 6, 1944, President Roosevelt asked for God’s protection, praying, “They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.”
A willingness to put one’s self in harm’s way to restrain evil and liberate the oppressed brings to mind Jesus’ words: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). These words come in the midst of Christ teaching His followers to love each other. But He wanted them to understand the cost and depth of this type of love: a love exemplified when one willingly sacrifices his or her life for another person. Jesus’ call to sacrificially love others is the basis of His command to “love each other” (v. 17).
Perhaps we could show sacrificial love by giving time to care for the needs of an aging family member. We could put the needs of a sibling first by doing their chores during a stressful week at school. We might even take extra shifts with a sick child to allow our spouse to sleep. As we sacrificially love others, we demonstrate the greatest expression of love.
What is one way you could demonstrate sacrificial love today? What holds you back from loving sacrificially?
Dear God, please help me to look for ways I can love others sacrificially each day.
Jesus’ teachings about life “in [Him]” (John 15:4) flow from His teachings about the Spirit (14:15–21). Through the Spirit sent from God to live “with” and “in” believers in Jesus (v. 17), they experience the intimate joy of the Father and Son’s love for them (v. 21). Through the Spirit drawing us into the love, joy, and abundant life of the triune God, we’re empowered to keep Christ’s commands (v. 21)—namely, to love as Jesus has loved us (15:12). Biblical scholar Rodney Whitacre says it beautifully: “The obedience Jesus is talking about is an obedience not to societal rules, but to the Father who is all love. To obey him is to conform one’s life to the very pattern of God’s own life . . . which is characterized by harmony, grace, goodness and beauty. We are in intimate union with him and swept up into his dance for which we were created.”
Discover what it means to be alive with Christ.