Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I received from My Father. John 10:17-18
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16
At any point during the night of His betrayal, Jesus could have escaped from the control of His captors and avoided the cross. He had the power to free Himself as He had demonstrated in previous encounters with crowds that wanted to take Him by force. But this night He used an even greater power…..the power to lay His life down. And because we are in Him, we have this same power.
Many in the church today are seeking after power…..the power to preach, the power to heal, the power to move in the spiritual gifts. And I say yes! Let us, by all means, have these things. But where are those who are seeking, earnestly seeking, the power to lay their lives down?
Generally speaking, we are a selfish people. The new nature that Jesus has given us is many times crowded out by the self-centered demands of an un-crucified flesh. Comfort…convenience…..leisure…ease. And the words of the Lord Jesus are drowned out – “if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
In the cross was the ultimate demonstration of God’s love. Jesus took up His cross. He laid His life down. Oh that we would long to follow Him in this! Can you imagine how our cities would be shaken by a people who exerted the full force of their power to lay their lives down!
Lay your life down to preach the gospel….lay your life down to pray earnestly for a move of God….lay your life down to actually demonstrate the love of God to those in need. It’s only a temporary life anyway. What a waste to use it all up on ourselves. Why not pour it out lavishly in anticipation of the glories of that eternal life that awaits us?
Imagine the pleasure of Jesus to have a people who live to give their lives away…..just like He did.