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Would You Lay Down Your Life?


Did you know that if the interior body temperature of an individual drops two degrees, intense shivering results and that further lowering of temperature produces sluggishness and coma, and finally, at somewhere between 89 and 86°, death ensues? (Source: Wikipedia) That is why those who attempt cross country skiing, high-mountain climbing and winter camping need to be aware of the dangers of bodily heat loss.


There are many winter survival stories, both true and fictitious. I personally have read and seen documentaries of such feats of fate, as well as television movies depicting such dire circumstances. In some of these survival adventures we are told or shown how two people would shelter themselves in one down filled sleeping bag for hours, using each other's body heat to stay warm during frigid conditions. Some, particularly those stories where one member of the stranded party was deeply ill or severely injured, told how their companion on the journey would use his body heat to keep the other's core temperature elevated, even at times giving of their own life to do so. Now that is true friendship.


I know now what Jesus meant when he said: "Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." [John 15:13] He was sitting with his close circle of friends, the twelve, eating a final meal with them before his crucifixion. During this discourse of the evening he was speaking to them as to how love and joy are perfected. His command that evening was plain and simple: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." [John 15:12]


How did Jesus exercise such love toward his disciples? Did he show an example of such love? Was he going to show them personally the truth behind the words? Jesus gave of himself so that we can survive another day; so that we can live eternally with God our Father. Jesus gave us his body as a sacrifice once and for all for your and my sin. What a friend is he! Are you and I willing to do the same for a friend?

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