Reading the context of this passage, I come face-to-face with the twelve disciples as Jesus gives them his instructions at the Last Supper. These instructions are quite lengthy and complex, and I’m sure the disciples did not completely understand what he was talking about. I know just these two verses give me a lot to think about. I wonder what it truly means to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. I know this is referring to what Jesus did for us, but we are to be like Jesus and love like him. So what does that look like?

I am sitting on a bench in a park as I write this, overlooking a forest and listening to the roar of a waterfall. As I came upon a fork in the path earlier, I had two choices — sit in a shelter at a table or go a little further, down a gravel path to this bench. I took a risk of sorts, at least in my mind, because somewhere along this path down to the falls is where my late grandmother fell and broke her ankle. She recovered and lived several more years, and I believe the path has been improved since then. The incident still lingers in my mind, though. Now I could go even further, down to the waterfall itself, but I have other plans.

As I consider all this, though, I can see a parallel to what it means to love like Jesus. It comes with risks and step-by-step choices: a smile here, a helping hand there. And sometimes these choices involve suffering and sacrifice. I have said before, thinking about one day suffering for my faith, that it would be the living, not the dying, that would be the hardest — the hunger and deprivation, uncertainty and oppression. It would mean making little choices every second that honor Christ, despite the cost, in spite of the risk.

Yet we all have opportunities even now to make tiny risky choices, to love as Jesus loves. We just have to look and see them.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for wisdom and insight into whom you would have us to be. Help me, and all of us, to have and take opportunities to show this bold love that you show to us. In your holy name, amen.

Throughout This Day: Go the extra mile for God and others by praying for God’s love to reign in your heart, and by remembering that as a Church, we are the hands and feet of Jesus. Smile, serve others, and remember that love is not for cowards!

Tags: Daily Devotional John 15
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