In John 15:13, Jesus tells us, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” In Romans 5, Paul discussed how rare it was for someone to offer their life for another, especially someone unrighteous, yet “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Now, in our lesson today, we see Paul demonstrating this same level of love for his fellow, unbelieving Jews. Not only would he offer his life, but he would offer his salvation and eternal life if it would make a difference.
We know it would not. God does not trade one man’s life for another, nor is it necessary since Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient. But Paul, nor any of the rest of us, can make the choice for another to accept that gift of perfect sacrifice. It cannot be cast upon us. It cannot be bartered for by another. It is each individual’s own choice. Accept or reject.
However, in this passage we also see a challenge to grown in our Christian life. What would you be willing to give for another to turn to Christ and be saved? Would you give your salvation? Would you give your life? Would you give a Saturday morning or Monday night? Where do you draw the line?
Wherever you draw the line, you have to step back and look at the things on the side of the line that you would not cross. Are those things truly more eternally valuable than the eternal life of a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker? Are they even more eternally valuable than the eternal life of a stranger?
I get it, this sounds like a really harsh exercise, but we each have that line. I’m too busy to go on a mission trip. I’m too busy to serve. I’m too busy to volunteer. All of those are choices on how we use our time. I’m too busy to study God’s word every day. I’m too busy to go church. I’m too busy to pray. I get too grumpy to fast. I’m not wealthy enough to give. We make choices in where we draw the lines in our spiritual disciplines every day.
I’m not saying that is wrong. Without lines we wouldn’t hold down jobs and support our families. But, if we are honest, some of our lines (ok, maybe it is just my lines), really are stupid lines when compared with eternity. Paul shows us the kind of love that God had. He is all in, body and soul.
Because many Jews had chosen not to believe in Jesus but instead had hardened their hearts. Like Moses and Jesus, he prayed for and interceded for the Jewish people and like both he would have rather offered his own life than see these others perish.
Cursed is to be cast aside, removed from the book of life, dis-owned from the family of Christ. No believer can be removed from Christ’s family (no one can tear them away). Paul’s point is that this is the most important and valuable thing and he would willingly give it up to save other Jews.
To go all in. To not hold back even the things that are most valuable and most precious to us.
I have the ability to know God unlike any other generation of believers because of the cumulative writings and access. Instead of relishing it, I often try to “fit it in” wasting time on far less meaningful tasks. I also have the ability to reach more people in more places and any previous time, but I barely know my neighbors.