Thursday, September 02, 2010

Knowing God - John 15:13 part 2

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Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13
 
I’m going to do two days in a row on this verse. Why? Because I have a story I want to tell. But first there is an insight that came in looking it up.
 
In my Bible Browsing Software (I love www.crosswalk.com!) I remembered enough of this verse to search for "lay," "down," "life." Did you know that Jesus — who would obviously lay down his life for us — used this theme several times in his ministry?
 
For example, in John 10, Jesus was comparing himself to a good shepherd. He said a hired hand will run if he sees a wolf approaching. But I am the Good Shepherd ... and "I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:15).
 
Two verses later, Jesus uses these words again to express a completely different thought. In saying "I lay down my life," he’s expressing his willingness and intention. He’s essentially saying, "I choose to do this out of love." And then comes the new thought ... essentially, "and after I lay it down, I am going to ‘take it up again.’" In essence, I have both the power of choice and the power over death.
 
The next time these words are used, they reflect that while Jesus may have power and choice, we humans don’t fully have that gift, power, and ability — at least as much as we’d like to think. A prideful Peter says essentially, "Jesus, you’re saying that you’re going to be captured, beaten, and die in these next hours ... but ‘I [will] follow you ... I will lay down my life for you.’ (John 13:37)" Jesus reflects, however, our ultimate powerlessness compared to his ultimate power: "[Peter,] will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!" (John 13:39).
 
In Christ’s Love,
a powerless guy who’s awed
by the love of a savior who for
some reason calls me friend
 
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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