Bible Society of South Africa

Grace: Laying down one’s life – 14 November 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

12My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.

John 15:12-13GNBOpen in Bible reader

Each year, on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:00, in many countries around the world, a two-minute silence is held to remember Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, the day that World War I ended in 1918, and to honour the memory of those who fought, and laid down their lives for their country, in the ‘War to end All Wars’.

Many have extended the Remembrance Service to include those who have fought in wars since then, and hold up their heroes just as proudly, just as sadly.

I remember attending a very simple, but moving, Remembrance Day Service led by an ex-Air Force pilot, who humbly honoured his fallen comrades. It ended with a solitary bugle playing the haunting Last Post – then the Reveille – and lastly, a poignant prayer: “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Remembrance is a small but special way of honouring those who have given their lives unselfishly for the good of others; remembering their sacrifice acknowledges their worth, ensuring that they are honoured and never forgotten.

Jesus Himself instituted a Remembrance Service for his followers before He died on the cross many, many years before World War I; what He instituted was an act of love, the sharing of his body and blood, which they would remember as the last meal He shared with them, and a reminder of what they would share with him again in the Kingdom of Heaven, where He was “going to prepare to prepare a place for (them)”. (John 14:2)

During this special meal, Jesus “knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father.” (John 13:1) He was fully aware of the war the devil was already waging in Judas, and in the bad attitudes of those arguing for the position of “Greatest”; (Luke 22:24) and outside, He knew that the Cross was awaiting Him; “he had come from God and was returning to God”. (John 13:3)

Despite knowing that God had given Him complete power, Jesus humbled Himself and washed His disciples’ feet to show them the extent of His love, and the example of humility. Jesus was ready to take on the sins of the world, suffer and die in its place, and rise again; winning the victory over death for the people He loved.

Two thousand years later, soldiers who emulated His example would be remembered for laying down their lives

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your astounding example of love and grace. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.15
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