May. 29, 2017

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

John 10:17-18   “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”      Jesus freely gave His life, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. It was not the Romans who killed Him, neither was it the religious leaders of the Jews. Jesus freely gave His life in obedience to the will of the Father.

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”   Jesus motivation in giving His life was love. Verse 14 says:  “You are my friends if you do what I command you.  1 John 4:19 says:  We love because he first loved us.

Romans 5:5-8   For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.    Jesus died for us, in obedience to the will of the Father, not because we were friends, but so that we could become His friends. He died, the righteous for the unrighteous to give us freedom, freedom to do what we want, freedom to choose between good and evil, even freedom to choose to receive or reject His love.

Isaiah 53:3    He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
   The response to the love and sacrifice of Christ, the response to Him for giving us freedom to choose, for many is to reject and despise Him, to turn from Him rather than to Him. Knowing that, still Jesus willingly gave His life for freedom.

There is nothing that can compare to the sacrifice Christ made for us. He died so that we might live, eternally with God and free here on earth. Today though, we do remember others who freely laid and lay down their lives. We remember those who sacrifice and sacrificed all that they have and had. Because of love for their friends and fellow countrymen, they lay and laid down their lives. Is it that we are so good that we deserve the sacrifice they give and gave? No, it is for freedom that they sacrifice, so that we would have the freedom to do, to say and to choose whatever we want. Sadly many express that very freedom by rejecting and despising those who paid the price for it. Many who have never experienced the oppression of evil because of the freedom that was given them through the sacrifice of others, celebrate and choose the very evil that would hold them in bondage. Many take for granted the freedom they have. They protest and even riot for their rights, rights that were granted through the sacrifice of those they despise. Freedom is not free and surely it is not our right it is bought for all through the sacrifice of those who love it.   

Surely there is no perfect human government and we may not agree with the motives of war. But may we not despise the very freedom we have by embracing that which would hold us in bondage and eliminate that freedom. More than that, may we never despise or never forget those who serve or have served, those who have laid down their lives for our freedom.  

Thank you to all who serve and have served this country. Whether the sacrifice was a number of years or the ultimate sacrifice of life, we owe a debt of gratitude for your obedience and for your love. It is a debt we cannot repay.

May God richly bless you and all the families of those who have served.