This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16 NIV
A few years ago, there was a film out called Hacksaw Ridge. The true story of religious pacifist Private Desmond Ross who served during World War II. Under heavy fire at the Battle of Okinawa, he went in to carry out the wounded men. Each time he went out, he said this prayer, "Lord, please help me get one more." His act of bravery saved 75 men.
We occasionally hear of such acts of bravery, of people willing to sacrifice themselves for others. The idea of loving others above oneself is found throughout the Bible. In John 15:13, Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Jesus' didn't just say it but lived it by extending his love beyond friends to all of us. In his sacrifice, he offered salvation in this life and the next for all peoples in all generations. When we reflect on the enormity of his compassion and care, we pause and give gratitude.
Today's verse doesn't stop with Jesus' love, though. As his disciples, we are to show this same inclusive love for others. We must stand together when others oppose Christ's liberating message of peace and love. As His messengers, we may face physical danger, but if that day comes, we pray for the strength and courage to lay down our lives in the love of Christ.
Father God, we give you thanks for your Son, Jesus Christ, who gave his life for all peoples. Please help us be messengers of your liberating gospel and help us this day save one more. Give us boldness to stand with our brothers and sisters against evil. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.