Ultimate Love

JESUS SPEAKING

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 5: 9 – 13)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Before sacrificing His life upon the cross, Jesus addressed His disciples, saying, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. We are thus reminded of the greatest act of affection one can possibly accomplish. Accordingly, those who follow Christ must also emulate His death upon the cross, crucifying their selfish desires every single day. The self-seeking appetites of the flesh must be struck down so that the will of God might be accomplished in us and through us. Therefore self-sacrifice is a necessary and essential component of genuine Christian living.

In 1941, a man named Sgt. Franciszek Gajowniczek was imprisoned in Auschwitz, a German concentration camp and extermination facility. One day, when three prisoners had seemingly escaped, the deputy commander of the facility selected 10 men at random to be punished; they were sentenced to death by starvation in an underground bunker. Sgt. Gajowniczek was one of those men. He pleaded for his life; making mention of his wife and children. A priest and fellow prisoner named Maxillion Kolbe was listening. He suddenly stepped forward and offered to die in the man’s place; hoping to ensure the preservation of his family. The commander accepted his offer. A few weeks later Reverend Kolbe died from starvation and a dose of carbolic acid. Sgt. Gajowniczek survived the rigors of Auschwitz and was eventually reunited with his loved ones at the end of the war. In 1972 a crowd gathered at a memorial service at Auschwitz to honor the priest who had sacrificed his life. Gajowniczek spoke at the gathering, heaping praises upon the man who had died in his place.

Like Maximillion Kolbe, all Christians are called to lay down their lives so that others might be saved. Selfish pursuits must be abandoned so that God can use us to accomplish His works. If we choose to die, Christ will be raised up in our place, and many will see Him and be drawn to Him. Being selfless is not an easy discipline; it represents a significant struggle. Still, may we all be equipped with the strength to serve others as we lay down our lives for our friends.

“Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit; refresh our hearts and minds, that we might lay down our lives as a sacrifice for our friends. May Your perfect will be done. Give us the strength to deny our fleshly apatites and embrace a life of gratitude and selflessness. As we die, may Christ be lifted up in our place; so that many might come to the faith and be reborn. We love you Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!


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