No Greater Love


Jesus Said: This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.   John 15:12-13

Some years ago on our summer treks to the beach, we would stop and visit family who lived along the Chesapeake Bay. Our kids loved their small community beach. During our stays the conversation would naturally gravitate to spiritual things with our hosts being curious about our faith in Jesus Christ. Their understanding of faith was centered around church attendance, rituals, and good works to please God rather a faith born out of God’s unmerited grace through Christ.

Pat was particularly interested as never having explored the Bible before. Over time she seemed to grasp the depth of love Jesus had for her and His desire for her to know Him more fully. Unfortunately, we received a letter that Pat had passed away in a drowning accident. She was babysitting several neighbor children at the community beach when they were caught in a rip tide being pulled out to deep water. Pat managed to save the lives of the children but lost her own during the rescue.

Each day we wake up not fully knowing what any day may bring. We rarely plan to place ourselves in the middle of a crisis much less a life and death event. Our human mind tends to believe all things will remain the same from one day to the next. This condition is referred to as the ‘normalcy bias’ which leads people to expect tomorrow will be like today without any anticipation of life changing events occurring. Then suddenly there comes a moment out of nowhere when everything changes in life.

Jesus spoke to His disciples several times of His impending death on a cross. But in their mind they could not foresee or comprehend that reality. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was just such a point in time and history when everything changed spiritually for mankind. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to lay down His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:27-29). That day the meaning of ‘No Greater Love’ was on full display and the dynamic between God and man was forever altered having made peace through the blood of His cross.

For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:19-20

The shed blood on the cross by Christ was the means whereby the requirements for man’s sin was paid for by Jesus. The wrath of God was poured out on Him for the sins of the world. With the sin debt now paid, God offers reconciliation and peace to all who will place their faith in Jesus Christ.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

God’s rescue through Christ was a proactive and provocative act of love in that while we were still in our sin God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die a substitutionary death (taking our sin) for us. God did not wait for mankind to clean himself up, perform prescribed rituals or accomplish some grand sacrificial act before He offered us the gift of grace and salvation through Jesus.

The only work God asks of man now is that we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an act of faith to trust the sufficiency of Christ’s death in place of our own work. To those who will stop striving and place their faith in Jesus, God offers rest and a peace that passes all understanding.

But as many as received Him (Jesus Christ), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

There was no greater love ever expressed than on that Friday in time on a hill called Golgotha. To some that day was just another Friday in time. To those who trust Christ as their Savior, it is a day we were set free and a day that changed all of life. We call that day Good Friday.

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  1 John 4:9-10

M.P. Bramble

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