First he told them; then he showed them.
First Jesus said to his disciples, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Then he went and did it. “In case any of you were wondering what exactly I meant by that - here, I’ll show you.”
As difficult as that may be to wrap your mind around … that Jesus freely gave his own life for us … consider the fact that his radical definition of love immediately follows his command that his followers are to love one another in the same way.
“Love one another as I have loved you,” he says, “and in case you were wondering exactly how I love you - here, I’ll show you.”
Here, I’ll show you.
And then he did it. He laid his life down, quite literally. Knowing that his words would seem hollow without action to bring them to life, he chose a path that led directly, unavoidably toward his own death.
How much of the time is our decision to follow Jesus expressed in hollow and meaningless words, lacking the action to back them up?
What is Jesus asking us to do? How do I “lay down my life” for somebody else in 2013 in Springfield, Missouri? I mean, I’m a pretty nice guy. I’m friendly. I hold the door open for people. I volunteer at my kids’ school. Is that it? Is that what Jesus meant?
“[Costly grace] is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life,” wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship. I wonder; has my discipleship cost me my very life?
Jesus said, “Here, I’ll show you.” And he went and did it. He died.
What does it mean for us, here and now, who are commanded to do the same?