“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16 (NASB)
Some may claim to see God’s love in a baby’s smile, a child’s laughter, a beautiful sunset, or a neighbor’s kind deed. While all these should indeed be considered as gifts of love from God, the strongest evidence of His love remains the fact that “He laid down His life for us.” He has given us the best gift of all: His only Son.
A Sunday school teacher read the passage of Scripture where Jesus says, “My yoke is easy.” “What is a yoke?” she asked the class of children. One replied, “Something they put on the neck of animals.” “So, what is the meaning of God’s yoke?” the teacher asked. After a time of silence, one child replied, “That’s when God puts His arms around your neck.”
John also says that the depth of God’s love should motivate us to be willing to “lay down our lives for the brethren.” Jesus once said that there is no greater demonstration of love than to lay down one’s life for a friend (John 15:13). But Jesus went the second mile and laid down His life for His enemies.
“For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone would dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:7-11 (NASB)