Many of you will know the missing word in the title of this post. Many will not.
So what is the answer?
Is it that someone would lay down his ‘phone’ while talking to his friends? Or that someone would lay down the television remote for another person? Other possibilities include to lay down your head, or to lay down your guns, or even for the Bob Dylan fans, could it be that to lay down your weary tune, is the greatest of all loves?
Actually, the real answer from the Bible and from the lips of Jesus is “life”. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. It makes sense doesn’t it. This is not talking about killing people such as suicide bomber, or taking up arms for a cause. It is talking about being willing to lay down your own life, to sacrifice all that you are and all that you could be, for a friend (or friends).
We talk about the sacrifice of soldiers at war who guarantee our freedom. We talk about it for parents who lose their own life in order to save a child’s. We talk about it for a person who takes a bullet for another. And these type of ‘sacrifices’ are noble and honourable. But there is, in fact, one love that is greater. A love that is above the love shown in laying down your life for your friends.
I’m not a theologian, so I’m not sure whether it is a contradiction in the Bible or not, but the greater love that is at the heart of Christianity, and at the very core of the gospel of Jesus Christ is found in book of Romans in the Bible at Chapter 5, verse 8 to 10:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us … For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
Jesus laid down his life for his enemies. He not only commanded us to love our enemies but he himself died for his enemies, including you and including me, so that we could have something that we could never achieve on our own – peace with God.
How these two ideas of sacrifice fit together is both more complex and more straightforward than you could ever imagine. Jesus showed us the greatest love when he gave up his life as a ransom for many. It was the only way. It is the only way. Do you believe it?