John 15:13,15 – “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends … I have called you friends”
Who is your friend? Think of a list of your 5 best friends. Would you lay down your life for them? Probably, in most cases, you would. My wife is my best friend, I certainly would lay my life down for her. I have friends that come to mind that would also be on that list and I would lay down my life for them as well. But I think this verse calls for more than just being willing to die but willing to live for them. They call, they need, we do, because they are friends.
Jesus is saying “we can define and measure love in many ways, but this is the greatest measure, would you lay down your life for them, that is love.” Jesus taught it, the Apostle John understood it. You read 1 John 3 and it says in verse 1, “how great is the love that the Father has lavished (given in extravagance) on us that we should be CALLED the children of God”. We were NOT the children of God, but we have been CALLED the children of God. But how does that happen? John 1:12 “to as many as received him, to those who eliev has give the right to be CALLED, to become, the children of God“ How is that provision made? Again in 1 John 3:16 it says “this is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us …” We cannot just become the children of God without the laying down of the life of Christ for our sin on the cross. John also states in that letter “This is real love, not that we loved God but that God in Christ has loved us” (1 John 4:10) And what is the sum of the gospel, John 3 :16, “For God so loved that world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life”
Yes, the measure of love is a life given, for whom? Friends. “Ok, Pastor, I am with you … I can do that for my friends.” But what qualifies as a friend of God, here a friend of Christ?
Jesus said that the 2nd greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. And then he was asked “Who is my neighbor?” Then he proceeded to tell them a story about a man in need and concluded that the one in need in my path is my neighbor.
But who is my friend? who deserves my life laid down?
Jesus said in John 15:15, “I have CALLED you friends” The word “called” means “to call by a certain name, to clarify, to think to oneself.”
I did not deserve to be the recipient of his life laid down for me. But i remember Paul says “God demonstrated his love in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
We didn’t become friends, earn a right to be friends, and so he gave his life. NO, while we were still estranged from God, deep in sin, while we were his enemies, the embodiement of sin which God hates, Christ died for us to call us Friends. And so, because he chose to befriend me and lay down his life, i can receive that gesture, by faith and be more than just a friend, but also be called a Child of God.
WOAH … that is love! That Jesus called his enemies his friends and loved them
Doesn’t that give greater meaning to the sermon on the mount, when Jesus says “you have heard it said to ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemies’ but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father”
God loved us while we were still enemies. Jesus befriended us when we weren’t friendly and brought us to God. So when we CHOOSE to call someone a friend and lay our lives down for them, we look like our Father, we show ourselves to be Children of God.
So, will you choose to call your enemy your friend today?
Will you choose to lay down your life for one who is not worthy, has not asked, is not friendly?
Then, you will show yourself a child of God
Jesus said, “I have called you friend, I have laid down my life”
Who will you choose as friend today?