Yesterday evening I was visiting a few of my favorite blogs and I came across this picture
and this question
Just a Thought: Jesus laid down His life; no one took it. For you, for me, for all of us. Are we willing to lay ours down for our brethren?
The picture and the thought came from Wally Fry’s blog ‘Truth in Palmyra’
I started writing a comment for Wally but then I realized about 3 paragraphs into my comment, that my comment was becoming way too long to be a comment. so I then decided instead of hijacking Wally’s blog by writing a comment longer than his blog post, I would just turn my comment into a post and post it on my own blog.
Here is a link to Wally’s post –> Just a Thought
And now here is My Comment Turned into a Blog Post
When I saw the line written out… Jesus laid down His life with the words ‘no one took it’ attached, I saw it in a way I never saw it before. Though I know full well that Jesus went willingly to the cross, I still guess in my head I more envision the picture of Jesus’ life being taken from Him. He was beaten and He was killed, but no matter how many times I’ve heard that he willingly laid down his life for a bunch of sinners (me include), I still find it really… really hard to take in. To think that He went through such severe pain and suffering to save a bunch of liars, thieves, adulterers and murderers and He even did it for the people who were right there beating him and nailing him on the cross that day. How could He selflessly give up His life for people who were so unkind and undeserving?
There was once time in my life that I did not believe God existed yet Jesus still went to the cross and He took the punishment that I deserved…He laid down his life and He died… for me … Would I do the same?
Would I lay down my life for my brother or sister? What about someone I did not know or someone who I thought didn’t deserve it?
Also does laying down my life mean I have to die like Jesus did as in death? Or could this possibly mean laying down my life as in dying to my own self? 1 John 3:16-24 says – 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. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Jesus went to the cross willingly for us and I take that scripture to say I should be willing to give up my life also as in my time, or money, or energy or pretty much anything Jesus would want me to give away, even if that means it will take away my own comfort or may be even painful to help a brother or sister.
As I was writing my comment turned blog post I was reminded of something that happened to me a several years ago. That day had been a crazy busy day from the moment I got out of bed and I had skipped breakfast and missed lunch. I was stressed out, tired cranky and hungry. I decided to go through a drive through restaurant very late in the day to get a quick bite to eat. Once I got in line I discovered upon checking my wallet that I barely had any money. After scrounging around in the bottom of my purse and in my car’s console for change, I finally had just enough money to buy a bottle of water and a sandwich, which I did.
Once I finished paying for my food I pulled out of the drive through into the intersection just as the street light turned red. As I sat there waiting for the light to change, I noticed standing right beside my car was a man with a cardboard sign that had “will work for food” written on it. As I sat there waiting for the light to change I began to feel very uncomfortable and I was trying very hard to not make eye contact with the man holding the sign.
I didn’t have any money to give him because I had just spent the last of what I had on the food. I didn’t have a job to offer him and… here is a side of me that I am a bit ashamed to share… I had already decided that the man was probably just a scam artist who really did not need the money anyway.
I sat there at the light for what seemed like forever, feeling very uncomfortable and wishing the light would hurry up and change, but it didn’t happen. While I sat there keeping my eyes averted away from the man they landed on the bag with my newly purchased sandwich & bottle of water inside. At the same time my eyes landed on the bag, the words “give it to him” went through my head. I tried hard to not hear them because the truth was I did not really want to hear them. This was my breakfast, lunch and dinner and I was hungry!
I had plenty of excuses running through my head as to why I should keep my sandwich for myself, but no matter what excuse I gave myself the words “give it to him” kept going through my head.
The next thing I knew I found myself rolling down my window and holding the bag of food and water out to the man. “Would you like to have this sandwich?” I said. For a second he looked a bit confused but then suddenly His whole face turned into a big giant smile as he took the bag of food from my hand and said “God bless you.”
Just as the words left his mouth the light finally changed to green and I returned his “God bless you” and I drove off. It was then that I felt he realization that by giving away my lunch somehow I felt joy inside. And the odd thing was, I also realized that I had received way more joy in giving that sandwich away than I think I would have, had I decided to keep it for myself.
God gave me the affirmation that day that giving away to someone I knew nothing about was exactly what He wanted me to do. It really wasn’t much that I gave and I am not telling this story to toot my own horn, believe me when I say… I still sometimes struggle with this at times. The main reason I am telling this story is because I almost missed a blessing that day because I almost gave myself the authority to decide whether that man deserved a sandwich or not. I also realized that day that we never know someone else’s story and really it is not my place to get to decide whether someone deserves something or not. Only God knows the story and only He gets to be the judge. We should just love others and give that love freely away like Jesus gave and still does give it to us.
Jesus laid his life down for us never expecting anything in return and He did it just because He loves us and we really ought to do the same.
Here is a video of a song by Trevor Morgan called “Jesus Rides the Subway” that I want to share with you that goes well with this post.
Thanks for reading and have a blessed day,