Summary: Jesus thinks you are "to die for"
A Love to Die For
Have you ever noticed how we Americans love slang? I didn’t, until I spent some time helping Russian immigrants with their English. I was constantly catching myself using slang phrases which of course were not in any of their English books. One time my friend Lynn (who is American) and I were leaving one Russian family’s home. She said, “Well, we’ve got to hit the road now.”
And Valentin, the husband, said, “What is this Hit the road? Why you hit the road?” Usually in this kind of situation, I would say something like, “I don’t know. It’s just one of those dumb things we say.” But Lynn wanted to explain the logic of it, and was stomping one foot and saying, “See, we hit the road.”
Valentin, obviously unmoved by Lynn’s explanation, finally shook his head and said, “To American, maybe makes sense; to Russian, is crazy.”
Often slang terms arise when we’re searching for superlatives, words to describe the highest or utmost degree of something. It’s not big, it’s humongous
We’ll attach “super” or “mega” to a word. Or, something’s not just funny, it’s “a laugh and a half.”
In an effort to get ever more vivid expressions, we even move to the extremes of life and death. I knew someone who made a cake that was so packed with chocolate that we called it, not super-chocolate or even mega-chocolate cake, but “Death by Chocolate”!
And then of course, the ultimate is when something is so good, it’s “to die for,” “Oh that cake is so good, it’s to die for!” When we are trying to find a way to convey the height of our love for something, what stronger language can there be than that? “You should see his car: “It’s to die for!”
When it comes right down to it, probably no one would actually be willing to die for chocolate cake, or a great car, but it certainly expresses vividly the height of our appreciation for those things.
Love is often demonstrated in sacrifice
Many of you have probably read O’Henry’s short story: The Gift of the Magi
It’s about a poor young couple spending their first Christmas together.
Neither have the money to buy gifts, but each one sells the only thing they have of value to buy something for the other.
She has her beautiful long hair cut off to buy him a chain for his pocket watch.
He sells his watch to buy expensive combs to put in her beautiful, long hair.
Our willingness to sacrifice what is precious to us is a practical, visible way to show our love for others.
What is ultimately most precious to us in this life is, our life itself.
So the giving of one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice
Did you hear about the guy who says to his girlfriend,
“I’d climb the highest mountain for you,
“I’d swim the deepest ocean,
“I’d give my very life for you”
She says, “Oh, honey, that’s so wonderful. But what I really need is for you to help me clean up the garage on Saturday.”
And he says, “Are you kidding? Now you’re just trying to take advantage of me!”
It’s easy to say “I’d die for you,” when we’re pretty darn sure we won’t ever be called upon to fulfill our vow.
But if it’s true that love is demonstrated through sacrifice, and that the giving up of one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice, then the giving up one’s life is also the ultimate expression of love for another human being.
When Northwest Airlines flight 225 crashed just after taking off from the Detroit airport on August 16, 1987, there was only one survivor among 156 people on board: a four-year-old girl named Cecelia.
Cecelia survived because, as the plane was falling, her mother, unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around the little girl, and refused to let her go.
She gave the ultimate sacrifice for her daughter, and it was the ultimate expression of her love.
Stories like that show us the noblest and truest expressions of human love.
And while we are deeply moved by stories like that, almost anyone who is a parent – and even those of us who aren’t – can understand why a parent would give up their own life to save their child.
Consider this story of sacrifice
During the war in Vietnam, a young West Point graduate was sent over to lead a group of new recruits into battle. He did his job well, trying his best to keep his from ambush and death. But one night when they had been under attack, he was unable to get just one of his men to safety.