“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Have you ever gone snow tubing? I don’t mean a little flimsy sled on one inch of Missouri snow dust. I am talking about a huge over-inflated snow tube down a hill covered with three feet of Wisconsin snow, the wind biting at your face, your heart racing as you hurl face first down a hill so steep you can’t see the bottom. It’s kind of like flying, only you get more bruises. The hard part is the climb back up the hill. Carrying a huge snow tube isn’t easy. The loose snow and huge boots don’t help, either. Some people don’t tube down a second time because the climb back up the hill is so hard.
On a freezing winter day, I was climbing up one such snow-covered hill when I noticed a struggling climber. The poor kid was trudging up the hill, trying to lug a huge, slippery snow tube without dropping it. Some of the other kids had their older friends help them carry their tubes or take their tube up for them altogether. I asked the boy, “Couldn’t you have a friend help you with that?” The boy looked up and said, “I don’t have a friend that good,” and continued his lonely struggle up the hill.
It takes a good friend to help carry your burdens. It takes a very good friend to sacrifice something for your sake. The struggling boy didn’t have a friend that would spend the effort to carry a tube up the hill for him. How much would you sacrifice for a friend? If your friend needed it would you give up your favorite pair of jeans? …your date? …your reputation ? …your life?
Only someone who really cares about you would be willing to sacrifice his or her own comfort for yours. Only a very close friend would be willing to suffer hardship for you. You have a friend like that.
Jesus loves you enough to sacrifice more than His time, more than His effort. Jesus cares more about you than His own life. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus considers you a close friend, a friend so close that He gave up everything for you. You don’t have to struggle through life alone. You don’t have to carry the burden of your sin by yourself. You have a friend so close that He was willing to carry the burden of your sin for you. He not only carries your burdens, but He carries you too! You have a friend who was willing to give up His own comfort, His own happiness, even His own life–all for you. Christ says to each of us, “I will carry that for you.” He picks up your sins, your hardships and your hurts and carries them for you. We have a friend that good.
Dear Lord Jesus, Your love for me is astounding. You have paid the price for my sins. Please help me to stop carrying the weight of my guilt, and fully believe that you have taken that burden from me. Thank you for being my best friend and sacrificing yourself for me. Thank You for the freedom that affords me! Please help me to show others what that freedom means. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.