Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13
This Bible verse is posted in my employer’s San Antonio home office, and it serves to pay homage to those who have given their life for our country. I have heard many others use this verse to describe the same, but I am doubtful this was the context Jesus was using as He said these words. He was not referring to giving up your life for your fellow citizens, and He was not referring to dying for Jerusalem. He was preparing for His last days and giving His disciples teachings before He would leave them in the physical form. He was speaking of love in this chapter, and He was telling them the most valuable thing mankind could offer was their life. Life is precious and of great value, more so than any monetary value we may place on it. In dealing with insurance claims, it is impossible to place a value on life, although one must settle at some monetary value to move forward on the claim.
As we recently celebrated the Fourth of July this month, we realize many paid a high price for our freedoms that we enjoy today. There are some who gave their life, and there are others who are still alive but paid some other high price for our freedom. Our freedom is not free, and remembering that should not be lost as we celebrate another year of it. There are some who have lost family members in war and who know firsthand the price of freedom. We have much to be thankful for in America as many brave men and women have served this country proudly and valiantly. Although we experience great freedom in this country, it will mean nothing to us once we leave this earth. There is another freedom that came at a great price, but it is a freedom that will last for all eternity.
Jesus showed His followers and the world that He had great love for them as He was willing to give it all at the request of His Father. A perfect sacrifice was needed to pay for the sins of the world, and Jesus would serve as that sacrifice. There would be no need for animal sacrifices as His death would satisfy the wrath and punishment of our sin. He sought to give us victory over sin and death. We would still die physically, but we could live eternally with Him and have ultimate freedom over sin if we would accept the sacrifice of the Son, if we would simply put our faith and trust in His finished work and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 states, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God has given us victory over death, as death only serves to unite us with the One who gave His life for us and showed us ultimate love.
Where are you today friend? Have you accepted God’s gift to you? Have you enjoyed the freedoms of our country, yet neglected the ultimate freedom through Jesus Christ? Are you enslaved to sin and destined to eternal damnation? John 3:36 states, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Will you believe on Him today? Will you experience freedom like you have never experienced before? How about you Christian? Will you live in your freedom from sin? May we be thankful for those who have given us our earthly freedoms, but we may never forget to thank the One who gives us true and eternal freedom.