In the 15th chapter of John’s gospel, we read a remarkable verse about our Lord Jesus Christ. On the night He would be betrayed, He said . . .
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
There are two aspects to this powerful proclamation. The first, of course, is the fact that Jesus did indeed “lay down His life” for others. Years later after that Good Friday, John would write to us about this truth:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)
The Old Testament prophesied about this “dying love” time and time again, and Jesus foretold it in all four gospel accounts. But clearly there is something more here than just His atoning death, as magnificent as that is. Jesus was not just talking about dying; He was also talking about living!
There is a sense of “laying down one’s life” when we are living for another. Our Lord Jesus came and lived for us before He died for us. He laid down His glorious, perfect life in heaven, took on flesh, and lived a sinless life. He was tempted in every way, just like us, and yet He sinned not—not one time—because of His love for us.
So the question I want to ask you today is: Are you laying down your life for our Lord Jesus Christ? Are you laying down . . .
- Your Agenda?
- Your Goals?
- Your Desires?
- Your Dreams?
- Your Vision?
- Your Plans?
It really comes down to a single word: SURRENDER! When Jesus raises us from death to life, He calls us to surrender everything to Him, including our lives. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . .” the inspired Proverb commands. “In all your ways acknowledge him . . .” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Jesus didn’t save us so we could have more of the life we were currently living; He saved us so we could have a new and different life, a life fully rooted in Him. It will only be when Jesus is seated on the throne of our lives that it can truly be said we are laying down our life for Him.
The only place we will ever find meaning, significance, and purpose is when we are living for nothing smaller than Jesus. This is what it means to lay down our lives for Him. And perhaps . . . if He calls us to lay it all the way down one day, we will say with Paul, “To live is Christ, but to die is gain . . . great gain!”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!