No Greater Love

Greater Love
John 15:13: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I don’t know if you saw or heard the news reports this week about five members of a family who were killed in a rock slide while hiking in the Colorado mountains.

The thirteen-year-old daughter of the family was the only survivor. She told authorities her father shielded her as boulders crashed down on them and likely saved her life.

Rescuers dug Gracie Johnson out of the rubble after Monday’s slide, and she was airlifted to a Denver-area hospital with a broken leg.

“She told me at the last second when the boulders were coming down on top of them that he covered her up and protected her, which I believe it saved her life,” said sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tolsma.

The Deputy said he was one of the first at the scene and heard screaming from beneath the rubble. He saw Gracie Johnson’s hand sticking up through the rocks.

“I started digging her out until I had more help come and we got her all the way out,” he said.

When I heard this sad story of loss and the bright note of salvation, I immediately thought of what Jesus said about great love. He was talking about giving up one’s life for a friend, or a family member. While either one would be difficult, I would suggest that most of us would find it easier to sacrifice ourselves for a friend or family member than it would be to give up our lives for someone we don’t know.

And yet that is exactly what Jesus did—he sacrificed himself for friends and family, certainly, but he also died for his enemies and those he never knew, and those yet unborn—and that would include each of us. Thanks be to God for this love which reached out to us and came to us through the centuries to redeem us. Amen.