It sounds like Jesus is preparing the disciples for His death. But if we start in verse 12, it says, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." He goes on to say in verse 15 that the disciples are His friends.
Now it sounds like Jesus is telling the disciples that they should be like Him and lay down their lives for their friends, or for Him.
Would you "lay down your life" for your friends? What does that actually mean? Would I take a bullet for you? Would I allow myself to die for you, or possibly for Jesus?
Oswald Chambers clarifies this verse when he says, "Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him."
That statement made me stop and think.
Personally, I think it would be easier to take a bullet for Jesus. It's a one-time thing and once you get past the fear, it’s over. But I don’t think that’s what He’s asking me to do.
Over and over in the Scriptures, we see commandments of how to live our lives, what we should avoid, how we should act, etc. Lots of do's and don’ts. But I think Jesus is summing up all of the commandments in one statement: lay down your life.
It's not about the commands - it's about the lifestyle.
In the same paragraph, Jesus says, “This is my command: Love each other.” When we truly love someone, we’ll put aside our own desires for theirs. We will put their needs before ours.
1. Whose needs do you tend to put before your own?
2. In what areas are you self-centered, putting yourself first?
3. What will it take to give that area of your life to God and “lay down your life” for Him?
Read John 15, the whole chapter. Learn about what our relationship to Jesus should be. Pray through those verses and ask God to show you how much He loves you, so that you can truly lay down your life for Him.