Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
I have read this scripture many times over the years and have wondered if death was the only true way to show what this scripture calls, â€śgreater love.â€ť If literal death is the actual proof of â€śgreater loveâ€ť then the question is, who do I love enough to actually die for? I am certainly willing to die for my closest family members, but where do I stand on all of those with whom I am not so close?
This question certainly makes one examine more closely the difference between love and â€śgreater love.â€ť We live in a society that has almost done away with the word like, having replaced it with the word love. I am sure that when we use the word love we do not always mean the dying type of love. Perhaps it is more accurate to say I really like something or someone, rather than using the word love so freely. For example, we may say we love sports or cars or even our clothes, but I am sure we are not actually saying that we are â€świlling to lay our lives down for them.â€ť That being the case, most likely what we mean is that we like them very much.
Is it possible that our text is talking more about our willingness to sacrifice, but not necessarily about a physical dying to prove our â€śgreater loveâ€ť? That would certainly make sense to me, particularly in light of my recent health experience.
I returned home late one Sunday night from a ministry trip. Shortly after going to bed I experienced a pain so severe that I actually lost my memory. The attack was so strong it seemed to set off a series of other problems. I slept in my chair Sunday night and got up early Monday morning and sent out my weekly â€śMeditation.â€ť I got dressed and got in my car and left homeâ€¦even though I do not remember any of this. I drove a few blocks and then I regained my memory enough to want to go back home (I do not actually remember driving back home). It was not until late Monday evening in the emergency room that my memory began to return.
When I drove back home that Monday morning my wife, Karen, knew something was wrong, so she called the Doctor and he said to rush me to the hospital emergency room.
The pain was caused by a kidney stone, and the memory loss was caused by a blood vessel that had actually burst in my brain. The doctors termed this episode as a mini stroke. However, as far as I know, I am fine today.
The point of this Meditation is not about the problem that I had experienced, but about what actually took place during those 24 hours.
The first thing that happened was that friends from around the world were praying for me and calling and sending emails of encouragement. I am still overwhelmed as to how all of this response could happen in such a short period of time. Maybe that was Godâ€™s way of showing me what â€śgreater loveâ€ť really looked like. It is not necessarily the actual dying that shows â€śgreater loveâ€ť but it is the â€śliving sacrificeâ€ť (Romans 12:1), that shows the â€śgreater love.â€ť
The second thing that happened that day during my time of mental absence was my repeated response to what I was apparently seeing. My wife, Karen, said she believed the Lord told her that during my time of mental absence from this world. that I was very much present in the Thrown Room of God. She said all I did that day was look around and continue to say â€¦Wow! â€¦Wow! â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦Wow!
Jesus showed us â€śgreater loveâ€ť when He was willing to go to the cross and die for us. Perhaps one way of showing our â€śgreater loveâ€ť is when we are willing to sacrifice for one another.
I thank You for continuing to teach me on subjects such as love. I am overwhelmed to learn that I personally know so little about what I thought I knew so much about. I now realize that some lessons are better learned by experience than by word alone. Thank You, Lord for trusting me with such an experience and especially for giving me a guided tour through Your Throne Room. Wow! â€¦Wow! â€¦Wow!
Apostle John Dean Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
Alliance International Ministries