By Randy Gordon
There are certain words that, through use or overuse, tend to lose their impact or meaning. One such word is love. (By the way, guys, Sweetest Day is October 19!)
Let’s be honest, we all want to hear the words, “I love you!” from those closest to us. When a spouse or significant other tells us, “I love you,” it warms our heart and makes us feel special. But when, 30 seconds later, that same person says, “I love tacos” or “I love my dog,” does it mean the same thing? Do they love everything equally? Or—gulp—do they love tacos and the dog more than they love me? (Are your insecurities flaring up about now?)
Let’s try a little exercise. If you are here with your spouse or another close loved one, think for a minute about something that they know you love. Now, turn to that person and say, “I love you more than _____,” and insert that item or thing you love.
I think Jesus knew his followers might have difficulty comprehending the depth of his love for them. In John 15, he commanded his disciples to love each other, and then he added a few clarifying comments. He first told them they should love each other in the same way he has loved them. When Jesus told them that, do you think he was confident his disciples understood? I don’t think so.
So, Jesus added this powerful statement: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, New Living Translation).
Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary was the perfect example of that statement. It was all about his incredible, beyond-our-comprehension love for us. He didn’t go to the cross because he failed. The cross was the plan from the beginning, and Jesus’ statement in John 15:13 was his way of making sure his disciples and all of his followers understood it was all about love.
When we take Communion, it reminds us of Jesus’ death, but we must also comprehend the driving reason behind his sacrifice: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Randy Gordon serves as the schools outreach pastor at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.