This week’s Pastor to Person is written by Pastor Caleb Beller.
[1Jo 3:16 NKJV] 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for
us. And we also ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.
With Veterans Day next week and having a daughter serving in the Navy
(thank you Charis) this verse jumped out at me. Her service has brought me a deeper respect for those that have served and for their families. While most think about this verse (and our military) in the light of the greatest sacrifice (Jesus’ substitutionary death for us) There is more to this verse than the idea of dying for someone else. I would say it is not about how we die but how we live!
You could make a case for John pointing to Jesus’ death on the cross, but
a command that we must be willing to die for our brothers however noble is most likely not the point. When Paul describes Jesus’ sacrifice in Phil 2:5-11 the cross is the apex of long series of actions that demonstrate Christ’s love.
The word for “life” is more than being alive it involves our will & our soul.
When Jesus “laid down” his “life” it was an intentional act of daily choices to make others’ needs greater than His own. I think John and Paul are highlighting the life and lifestyle of Jesus as an example of a life on mission, a life of service. Jesus’ prayer in the garden, “not will but Thy will be done” perfectly encapsulates this. John’s challenge to us is one of how we live. The daily choices of setting my needs, wants, and desires (my life) below the opportunities that God is giving me to be His hands and feet. Jesus showed us His love not just in how He died but in how He lived. We too are called to demonstrate this selfless love in our service to others. This is my prayer this week for me and our church!