“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Jesus spoke these words to his disciples just a few hours before he was arrested. And the next day, which we celebrate today as Good Friday, he laid down his life for us all. He gave up his life willingly on the cross to pay the price for our sin.
Jesus clarifies his definition of ultimate love by adding, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” And that command is “Love each other as I have loved you.” Earlier that evening, as he ate his last supper with the disciples, Jesus had said the same thing, calling it a new command (John 13:34).
I sometimes wonder, “Do I have even a beginning of love like that? How does it show?”
Loving others by dying for them is not expected from each of us. But loving others by giving of our time and money and by sharing of our gifts and talents is a start. There’s more involved than being kind and patient. Love always trusts and always perseveres (see 1 Corinthians 13). In our gratitude for all that Jesus has done for us, we want to share his good news wherever we can. For as the Canons of Dort remind us, “God showed his love” by sending his only Son so “that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
We look to Jesus as our example. He went willingly and obediently. He laid down his life for his friends. Do you see Jesus as your friend?
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving your own life as a sacrifice for ours. May our responses of joy and gratitude show and tell others how we are your friends, to the Father’s glory. Amen.
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