No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. (Joh 15:13, Amplified Bible).
Many Christians all over the world recognize the last week before Easter, as the Hoy Week. It symbolizes the week when Jesus faced the sentence of death, not for what He did wrong but as a sacrifice for the whole world.
Was it easy for Him? Definitely not! Imagine Him in the garden, knowing the task which lay before Him. Imagine the description of His sweat falling from His body as great drops of blood. I believe Jesus went through any trauma you can speak of; psychological, physical and mental.
The condition of great drops of blood was only mentioned by St Luke, who happened to be a medical doctor. Medical science has proved that our Lord Jesus may have suffered a condition known as haematidrosis.
Dr Graham Dark in the On-line Medical Dictionary defined haematidrosis as: A very rare disorder in which the patient sweats blood and/or blood pigments. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane under great emotional strain until the capillaries around His sweat glands broke and blood actually leaked through them. This was just one of the places where Jesus suffered. Space would not allow us to explore other areas like His arrest, detention, torture, verbal abuse and ultimately carrying a heavy cross on the long road to Calvary .
There is absolutely no doubt that Jesus loved and still loves us. As I read the above verse (John 15:13) it occurred to me that Jesus called us friends even when we were His enemies! No wonder the greatest commandment Jesus gave was love for God and love for men.
By laying His life down for us, Jesus not only gave the ultimate sacrifice but also set an example for us to follow. Do you love others as yourself? Do you love to the point of giving what is precious to you in order to help others in need? Do we love until it hurts? Until we get to this point, we cannot truly say that we love the way Christ taught us to.
But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. (Rom 5:8)
God did not only love us by giving up His son as a sacrifice for our sins in order to satisfy divine justice, but according to the verse above, He also showed and proved His love to us by allowing Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners. It is so easy to love those who love us back but what about those who will not show us love in return? Do we not withhold our love from them because we believe they will not appreciate our offer of love?
Imagine for a moment if the above verse has been re-written this way, "But God shows and clearly proves His own love for us by the fact that when we became righteous, Christ dies for us". What would have been your fate? I know what mine would be, I probably would not have become a saint and therefore would not have experienced the love of God.
As we enter into this last week of lent leading to good Friday, a day when the world stood still about 2000 years ago, let us appreciate the love of God for us and the ultimate sacrifice He made for us through His son Jesus. We can do this by thanking and praising Him. However, this is just the first part. The other part is identifying with Christs love by reaching out to people around us, not necessarily people we know but people in need. The need may not necessarily be in terms of material needs. Some of them may not any thing other than for someone to tell them that God loves them. Others may just need a hearing ear to listen to their struggles.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. (1Jo 4:7)
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org