Links Daily Devotional

His Life Laid Down

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

This week I am enjoying the company of a big group of college golfers and two-time PGA Tour winner Scott Stallings, who is hosting them for a retreat in Knoxville, Tennessee. These young men love to come pick the brain of a Tour champion like Scott, but they end up getting a much bigger picture of life than that. That’s because Scott is one of the many Tour players who draw strength in their work and in their home from their relationship with Jesus Christ.

As a reader of the Links Daily Devotional, you likely hold to the same understanding: life is far more engaging when it is lived with Jesus.

This makes complete sense. When Jesus came to earth, he wasn’t just here for a nice little visit. He had both the present and future kingdom of God in mind. He “talked big” in the sense that he addressed the most significant matters in life. In his interactions with the disciples, Jesus spoke of “entering life,” the “life that is truly life,” “treasures in heaven,” and ultimately living for eternity. And into the midst of all this, he talked of “laying down your life.”

This last idea doesn’t make a lot of sense to most people, even to many of us who say that we believe in Jesus. If the earth is our home, we find his teaching in John 15:13 very confusing and difficult to deal with. How could we give up the most important things in our world, especially if our main goal in life is to be happy? Isn’t the goal of our existence life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?

But even from his birth, Jesus demonstrated this kind of love. He left his throne in heaven to come down to us—certainly a laying down of his wonderful life! More than that, he came in the form of a child. The King of Creation was born an eight-pound human being. Already fully God, he became fully man in order to live among us and teach us how to live. The idea is unfathomable, the whole process a mystery. Except that this is God, and we can trust his ways!

It’s a brave prayer, but this Christmas may the Holy Spirit make known in us this divine mystery of Jesus following the Father’s will to come to earth, ultimately to lay down his life for his friends. May we embrace the Christmas story like never before, understanding that Jesus regarded the suffering he endured as worthwhile in order to free his beloved from the results of sin. In doing that, we stand in the way of a similar calling; we too may be asked to give up our lives as we know them, dying to our desires if not in our flesh.

You see, the story of Christmas is more serious than you may ever have thought. But why not? It’s the story of God!

Korky Kemp
December 19, 2013
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