I was doing some reading for one of my classes in search of a verse to support a topic I was researching and I came across this verse.
John 15:13 (KJV) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Many times I have heard people talk about this in relation to someone giving up their life as in dying. When I thought about it though I wondered, how can you show love to your friends by dying. That’s a once in a lifetime (for real) opportunity to show your friends how much you care. And really, HOW would one do that? I mean would someone consider, “you know I really really love my friends so this Christmas I’m going to give them the gift of dying for them.” Seriously, check yourself into a mental hospital. Yes, Jesus loves me (see what I did there). Yes, Jesus showed me His love by dying on the cross for me. And for us to give up our lives in order to love one another as Christ loves us then we are fulfilling John 15:13. Like it says in Philippians 1:21, “for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I never even came close to understanding what that verse meant until now and I think I’m still not quite sure. But, for me, being alive means that I am to be Christ to others and when I die to myself; to my desires, my wants, my earthly passions I am giving up myself to God’s will which is so much more perfect and fulfilling than any desire I might have. And ultimately when I die in my physical body it will be gain because I lived a life of service in Christ.
So how does this apply to everyday life? If I love my friends then I can give up my weekend of napping and Netflix to help her accomplish something whether it be getting over a bad situation, being an exercise accountability partner, feeding her dog while she goes out of town (though nobody loves me enough to try this with my dogs). Do you understand what I’m saying though? I am not dying physically to help my friends. I am allowing the death of my time and will because HER needs are more important than MY wants. Of course I’m saying “her” as in only friends but it can also mean my husband and my family. My desires are less important than their needs. If my child was upset over something no matter how trivial to us, wouldn’t I stop what I’m doing to go comfort her even if it was a marathon Walking Dead weekend? It’s obviously important enough to her to be upset about so it doesn’t matter if it’s not important to me. The child is important. The friend, the husband, the family member…they are all more important.
Now here comes the disclaimer. I am not a Biblical scholar. The Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic word in the original text may actually mean physical death but this is what came to mind as I was reading over the verses. So if I’m wrong I guess we’ll see when we get to heaven. Or until someone who can translate all those words tells me I’m wrong. I think it’s still worth applying to our lives whether I got the words right or not.
Thank you for letting me share.