‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’. John 15:13 (Authorised Version)
Many will naturally associate these words with Remembrance Sunday, and rightly so. It has been said that while some will willingly give their lives for their country, far more will be willing to lay down their lives for their friends. Those friends may be at home, especially the friends in one’s own family, or they may be beside one on the battlefield. There are countless tales of extraordinary sacrifices made by those who did just that, laying down their lives that others might live a better life or even live at all.
In times of peace such as we enjoy today not many of us will experience such sacrifice personally. And yet we do. Because those familiar words are the words of Jesus and he is speaking of his own death when he will lay down his life for his friends, gladly dying in their place, bearing the judgment they deserve at God’s hand for their sins. And yet it is even more extraordinary than that because the apostle Paul tells us that “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). If there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends, what kind of love is this – that a man lay down his life for his enemies?
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)
10 November 2019