The “Greater Love”
- January 01, 2018
- Jared Odenbeck
The greatest, most wonderful, radically inclusive truth is that Jesus Christ came into the world to call sinners to himself and befriend the wayward. That those who drift far may draw near and behold the mysteries of the Gospel and fellowship with God.
Jesus Christ, Life and Light personified (John 1), discloses the highest expression of love to his disciples in John 15. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). To surrender, to pay the expense of one’s own life, for the gain and profit of friends, signifies ultimate, complete, and full love.
But Jesus says that he laid down his life for his friends. Who is his friend? Am I? Are you?
“You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:13). We cannot both love our Friend and simultaneously intentionally hurt him with sin. We must choose the narrow gate or the wide (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus laid down his life for those who do what he commands. For those who repent (Matthew 4:17), follow him (Matthew 4:19), love God (Matthew 22:37), “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12), abide (John 15), and those who persevere to the end (Matthew 24:13).
Called as “imitators of God, as beloved children,” and to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2), we face a high and noble responsibility. One that the world rejects and one that demands the fullness of the new man to overtake the old. One that stoops for the lowly. That seeks out the oppressed. That considers potential personal gain and considers it worthless in comparison of the pursuit of completely losing oneself in Jesus Christ.
Not only does Jesus call you friend, but in doing so, he says that “all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Everything. Every word. Every secret. Every mystery. Disclosed to you.
Jesus invites you and me into the midst of the fellowship of the Father and the Son (John 17:21). He already gave his life. The work has been done. It is complete. What will you say?