I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.(John 14:30–31, ESV)
Jesus is speaking of his death. He understood that he would be betrayed by Judas. He knew that the religious leaders of his day would have him crucified. He then makes a bold statement about his enemy: “… he has no claim on me.” In other words, the enemy cannot have victory over Jesus. Then why did Jesus die on the cross? Because he was being obedient to his Father. This is hard for us to grasp as humans. We would do anything we could to avoid the beating and death that Jesus experienced. We also know that in Jesus’ humanity, in his physical being, he did not want to die in the manner he did. And he dreaded being separated from his father. But ultimately, Jesus wanted the world to know that he loved the Father. This is so amazing—the devil didn’t make Jesus die. He wanted to die for us. Why? Because he loved the Father.
Jesus’ death was painful; it was brutal; it was horrific. His death, the sum of all painful sums, made his resurrection the glory of all glories. What if Jesus had gotten a paper cut for our sin? Then his resurrection wouldn’t be a big deal. But his death was a big deal; his death was all of sinful humanity and demonic forces coming against the sinless Jesus to rob the world’s only hope of salvation. Jesus’ life was not taken from him; he obeyed his father, and that is why the resurrection is glorious. What was Jesus’ motive? His love for the Father.
If Jesus loved the Father so much that he laid down his life for all people, shouldn’t we also lay down our lives for our friends and even for our enemies? Not as a means of salvation (Jesus did that), but we lay our lives down out of love for the Heavenly Father. John wrote, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16, ESV). In your relationships today, how can you lay down your life for your friend, or even for your enemy, out of love for your Father?
Lord, help me not to allow the enemy of my soul to lay any claim to me. Because I love the Father, let me freely lay down my life for the other person’s sake in order to live out the Gospel to them…. (Continue praying.)