Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth”
What thoughts cross your mind as you consider laying down your life for another? Almost certainly the first consideration is death – your own physical death. Perhaps it’s the thought of a raging battle-field or risks like those at Dunkirk.. Maybe protecting a loved one or a threatened stranger needing your gallant sanctuary – and death of this mortal body so another can live, truly shows great character and love.
In the case of John 15:13 our thoughts immediately fly to the Lord Jesus. He died on the cross, uttering the words: “it is finished“, so that we might live. But take a closer look at the deeper meaning of this greatest of all love: “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth” John 17:19
Laying down of that precious life was more than forgoing His physical life alone, it encompassed a note of total surrender of every aspect of human life and existence. He sacrificed His entire holy life to the Father – “Thy will .. be be done“, Luke 22:42 – but He did it for our sake: “for their sakes I sanctify myself.” John 17:19 He did it for you and He did it for me. Christ demonstrated throughout His whole life, what true submission to God means.
Think about it…. He laid down the thing that most of us cling to unrelentingly. He subjugated His entire being to the will of the Father… completely – total temporal subjection, utter spiritual and sensual subordination: “I do nothing of myself, but as my Father has taught me I speak these things.” John 8:28. What a challenge to each of us – to see the willing submission of the Lord Jesus. I wonder, do you thus submit to the will of your Lord and Saviour? – do I? – or are we entangled in the tentacled web of spiritual insubordination ?
Insubordination means that we do not submit our impulses or intuitions to Him. Insubordination means that we do not yield our lives to His leading and guiding – Yet Christ, although He was God’s Son, learned to be obedient throughout His life. He learned obedience by the things which He suffered .” Heb.5:8. Insubordination means we resent His correction and are aggrieved at His discipline. Insubordination means disobedience, wilful perversity – and even rebellion.
The writer to the Hebrews gives some important insight into obedience, but if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Heb.12:8. These are challenges we all need to explore honestly, thoroughly and earnestly, for we are soon to meet Him in the clouds. Are we ready or will He find us wanting?
To submit our will to His is one of the biggest challenges any one of us faces, for it conflicts in every possible way with our own self-preservation and fleshly logic. Our will touches every aspect of our active being…. but how difficult we find laying it all at the Masters feet.
Sometimes we struggle throughout our entire Christian life to utter the words… Thy will – not mine be done…” Luke 22:42 Thy will be done, in every sphere of my sovereign being. We occupy our little lives with this and that.. working for Him and helping as we can.. while He simply waits and waits for us to expend all our ‘huffings’ and ‘puffings!’ He waits and waits while all our individual energies are slowly curbed and constrained – and little by little He dislocates each muscle, each tendon, each sinew of our will.
He desires each life to be sanctified for His use, and patiently waits for submission, until like our Lord we can say:- “I do nothing of myself.. but as the Father leads.” – until we too can say with Paul:- “I am bought with a price … I am not my own.” Each one of us needs to be brought face to face with the reality what we are. We need to face up to the challenge of one abiding reality – GOD – We need to face up to the Reality of Who He is. “I AM WHO I AM.”
While on earth we are the hands, the feet, the ambassadors of almighty God. The church, which is His body are the only human representatives of I Am. Should we not tremble at the awful reality of Whom we are denying into our lives. If or when we kick against the pricks of His sovereign rulership. Let us in humility of heart lay all we are, at His feet?
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