Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 ESV)The obviously meaning of this verse is the one that points to the cross that Jesus bled and died on. I think that the second meaning points to that cross that we are asked to bear. Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 16:
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."I think that Jesus is speaking to the idea of love having two parts:
- Denial of Self: Real love always involves cost.. it involves giving away a part of us. King David said:
"I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing." (2Samual 24:24 ESV)The idea that love does not cost is simply a definition of fleshly love. God calls us to a love that costs.
- Giving of Self: Love is simply not passive. When Jesus commands us to pick up our cross he is calling us to action. He tells us how to love when He says "pick up your cross".. He communicates a definition of love that is somewhat alien to the meaning that many apply to the word.
- cause us to be kind.When we are tempted to be mean-spirited;
- make us patient with a child when we are in a hurry;
- deny us vengeance and cause us to forgive;
- cause us to walk in humility.. to trust.. and to hope;
- bring a life of perseverance even when we so want to give up.