The gospel accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, while each being uniquely different, confirm the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. When we intentionally read through the gospels simultaneously over a concentrated period as we have tried to do this month, I believe God delights in allowing the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and eyes to a greater understanding regarding His Son.
Today we enter into the last week of our Dying to Live series. As we continue our reading through the gospels, our focus is turning towards Jesus’ final week on earth. It will be in this final week we will see how Jesus truly dies in the most perfect ultimate ways in order to give us life not only here on earth but also eternal life in heaven with Him. The way Jesus begins His last week of Dying to Live is found in demonstrating how to Die to Self.
“This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.” John 15:12-15
In the above passage, Jesus is preparing to enter into the most physical, mental, and emotional time on this earth. While He undoubtedly is having to deal with His own preparation for carrying out His Father’s will, Jesus takes the time to try to prepare the disciples for His departure and eventually His return. Part of this preparation is spent helping them understand the relationship He desires for them to have with one another. The relationship Jesus models with His own life is one that puts others before themselves even to the point of death.
“No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father.” John 10:18
Paul also writes about this in Philippians and Ephesians. In Philippians 2:8, Paul, speaking of Jesus, writes:
“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.”
Jesus’ love for the world and ultimately His love for the Father allowed Him to die to Himself in order to live.
Later in Ephesians 5: 25-27, Paul gives the example of how a husband should love his wife in relation to the love Christ had for the body of Christ:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27
Dying to self truly results in a life that is living to love.