“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
The above has been my favorite verse for longer than I can remember. Spoken by Christ as he prepared to go to the cross, it’s clear that it refers to dying so that others can live. But for many of us, literal life and death situations are not a part of our day to day lives. I’m still mulling the idea over, but I don’t think I’m too far off in suggesting that the verse could also refer to living for others. And in fact, I’d go so far as to say that a life spent caring for the needs of others because of the love you hold for them is actually more difficult than the actions of a heroic instant. At the very least, it requires more stamina.
Thoughts? Arguments? Counter-examples? Drop ’em in the comments!
4 thoughts on “[Blog] Greater Love”
It’s a curious line, IMHO, in the face of Romans 5:8 & 5:10.
I think I know what you’re getting at, but could you elaborate?
Well, one of these must not mean what they say on their face. Let’s say I take as given that Jesus did in fact die for his enemies as Paul says. Because I do. Then it can’t be exactly true that no man has greater love than to die for his friends. Because Jesus was a person, and died for his enemies, and we probably agree that making sacrifices for your enemies is greater or more noteworthy love than making sacrifices for your friends. So, I guess Jesus just excludes himself from the statement, as in “The best y’all could possibly do is lay down your lives for your friends. So watch out for my next trick, it’s gonna blow your mind. Laying down your life for your friends (figuratively or otherwise)? Hold my beer.”
I think that’s a really good point, and clearly loving one’s enemies is one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith, as shown by the Romans 5 passage. That being said, the whole of John 15 is basically Jesus saying this is how to love, love is super important, go do this, and isn’t him saying do this because it’s the best you could do. If you look at 15:12, he says explicitly to love as he loved us. Tie that in with the Romans passage, that starts sounding a lot like a command to love others who don’t love us. Because of the specific vocabulary in both passages, I also wonder if it may be explained by Christ being our friend while we are his enemies. Thoughts?