“Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”John 15:13, MEV
Today is Good Friday.
Growing up, Good Friday was a school holiday. No school was something every child eagerly anticipated, and it preceded a weekend chock-full of fun activities.
We could count on our parents having baskets of candy and a chocolate bunny waiting on us when we woke on Easter morning. Mama would have made a new Easter dress for me to wear to church. She’d have purchased new stockings, white shoes, and made a matching pull-string purse to hold a tissue and a coin for the offering plate. I have three brothers, so there was plenty of competition for the hidden prize egg when we had the egg hunt with all the boiled eggs we’d decorated.
These childhood memories are precious to my heart. Today, however, as I sit outside listening to the spring birds chirping and feel the cool April breeze run across my sun-warmed arms, my thoughts travel back to a very different experience.
I’ve spent several days reading about the cruelties Jesus experienced before He suffered and gave His life for us on the cross. A friend whom He’d loved and invested time and training in betrayed Him. He was so overwhelmed by what He knew He’d be facing that His pores sweated drops of blood. Those closest to Him abandoned Him, but His words still protected them. An army of at least 650 men dressed for battle arrested Him. There was so much authority and power in Jesus that just Him mentioning His identity caused the soldiers to fall. Jesus healed the ear of a man present to arrest Him. Yet with all this power and authority, He willingly went with them despite knowing their cruel intentions.
He was led for judgment by religious leaders whose hate was so intense that they spit on, humiliated, beat, blindfolded, and mocked Jesus mercilessly. They beat Him beyond anything we could fathom, such that He was unrecognizable. He was further beaten, mocked, and scorned by the military charged to secure Him, and endured a Roman scourging few survived. All of this was before the final torturous suffering of crucifixion.
Easter was a holiday I eagerly anticipated as a child. I wonder about the eagerness of Jesus. Despite all the torture Jesus knew awaited Him, He looked beyond the cross and saw you and me. And because He loved us so much and anticipated our having a lasting covenant with His Father, He endured unthinkable abuse and death. The very human part of Him could not have welcomed the suffering, but I think He welcomed what He knew it would afford.
For every need, pain, illness, and heartache we have had or will ever suffer, Jesus willingly gave His life. Even now, He is at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf. His love for us is beyond human comprehension. Greater love has no man than this, and He has that love for you.
No Greater Love
So today, as you make preparations for Easter dinner with your loved ones, shop for the perfect dress or shoes, add another chocolate bunny to a basket, or decorate eggs with children, keep in mind all the love a person could ever have was poured out for you this day many years ago. He is the reason we celebrate–not just because He took stripes on His back for our healing or died so every sin could be forgiven, but because He didn’t stay that way! We celebrate because He is alive! He rose again, as He said He would!
In Jesus, we have the perfect example of how to love others. There is no greater love than laying your life and desires down for someone else. Most importantly, we have the opportunity to accept a loving relationship with the Creator of the world. Make beautiful memories with your loved ones, and remember the reason we celebrate. Think on all the good Jesus did this Friday and the great love He has for you. How amazing to know that someone who loved you enough to die for you is speaking to the Father on your behalf!
“Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that He has lavished on us! He has called us and made us His very own beloved children.”1 John 3:1a, TPT
Thank You for loving me so much that You sent Your Son to die for my sins. Help me to never forget the price Jesus paid so I could be in right standing with You. I ask You to forgive me for every sin and I commit my life afresh to You right now.
Jesus, thank You for willingly laying down your life for me. Now I live for You.
I will celebrate this season with joy because You were thinking of the joy that would come from my being Yours. Thank You for Your great love for me! Help me each day to show Your great love to others.
In Jesus’ Name,
Do you know how much you are loved? You are loved more than you can imagine! What is one way you show love to others? What is a tradition you have that you love? Leave your responses in the comments at the bottom of this post. I look forward to hearing from you!
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