“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” ~ John 15:13
Laying down one’s life to demonstrate love… At first glance, this verse appears to be speaking about death. And certainly, there are times when a soldier, firefighter, or a spouse makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to save someone. But this scripture in the book of John also means a spiritual death where we give ourselves over to living a life in Christ. It is through such living that family, loved ones, and friends can see a life that Christ has touched and reflects that we have been changed.
My wife and I had been by a dear friend’s bedside for days, and we were there when she died. It was painful watching her slowly slip away from being a full, vibrant person, and gradually becoming an unconscious, unresponsive body in a hospice bed. But at the moment of her passing, her eyes suddenly opened, sparkling in clarity and staring at the end of her bed. A smile crossed her face. She leaned forward a bit and reached out her hand – and then left this world behind. We were blessed to see her obvious delight in taking that next step. The experience has changed my life forever. But I know that the truth is, she had been laying down her life, giving over herself to Christ’s will for her life, in the years proceeding that final moment. What a joy it had been knowing her as she was living a life that was a reflection of His love. She had been a living Bible where we could see Christ’s message through her life. It was an honor to have known her, to see His love living through her. And what a blessing it was to have witnessed a life, and a death, that demonstrated her commitment to laying down her life for her friends.
Note: We thank guest blogger lay speaker Richard for this powerful meditation on Love for our Advent series,