One of my first nights as a college freshman, a girl in my dorm opened up about a traumatic experience that happened over the summer. Her parents’ house backed up to one of the major interstates in New Jersey. While hanging out in her backyard, she heard a large explosion. Something inside of her moved her toward this massive pile up. Moments later, she helped drag a child from a burning car. This instinct was something she couldn’t explain, but it was a sign of love deep inside her heart.
This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do, John 15:12-14.
As God’s plan for His life was a few days from being fulfilled, Jesus began to open up to His disciples. Passion Week served as a way to prepare these twelve men for life after His ascension into heaven. Looking back, it’s clear that Jesus is pointing to his death on a cross in the passage above. Yet, most of the disciples thought that Jesus was merely introducing another expectation for his followers. To someone like Peter, this is an extension of Matthew 16:24-27, a call to prove your love for God.
Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. 8 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, Romans 5:7-8.
Alain de Lille is a French theologian and poet who referred to the apostle Paul’s letter to Rome as the Road to Romans in 1175. This first century epistle is considered one of the most theological books in the New Testament. The passage above along with Romans 6:23 play a crucial role in Evangelism Explosion, a course I took at a local Methodist Church in Delaware. Paul illustrates the greatness of Jesus’ love. Nearly 2000 years after his death and resurrection, Jesus wants to know how great is your love on earth?
by Jay Mankus