The greater love is to give one's life for a friend. However, the greatest love has to be when one gives their life for their enemy for the purpose of reconciliation. We honor the first notion especially if the friend is at least a good person. But we rarely, if ever, celebrate someone laying down their life for their enemy, i.e. those who have committed offenses, wrongs, or even violence against us. Unthinkable!
What American would lay down their life for Osama bin Laden? Really? Consider the following mandates directed to Christ followers:
- "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
- “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you . . ."
- "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."
To die in the place of someone who deserves to die, takes the power of love.To die in the place of someone who deserves to die, even deserves to be killed, and who has treated you with hate and violence, takes the power of an amazing love.
Yes, Jesus died for even Osama, an enemy who we are also told to love.Remarkably, we are even mandated to practice a treasonous love as we do good to those who hate us.
The Easter story is about a treasonous love that offers reconciliation and redemption even to the worst of the worst . . . but then Jesus came to turn the world upside down.