Jesus was always at work teaching and training His disciples for a life of meaning and service for God and others. You see this written on most pages of the gospels. Related to his teaching, when He declares “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends “ in John 15:13, you have to ask, what’s He really talking about?
The context of John 15-18 is Jesus looking to the cross, his own sacrifice for others. For you and me, verse 13 might be easy to dismiss saying. “It’s too big, it’s too much, it doesn’t apply to everyday life.” O’contrare! It especially applies to everyday life.
Jesus’ death for the sake of the Gospel is clear. He literally laid down His life, so that those who believe in Him would live. This is the heart of the Gospel and I’m so thankful. But what does it mean for us? In light of full disclosure, it just might mean making the ultimate sacrifice and dying for another. But in our daily experience, it means that we die to ourselves. That daily “picking up our cross” motivates us to serve one another, and like Jesus, lay down our lives for others. It carries the weight of dying to my own selfish desires, Dying to self is part of our salvation; the old self dies and the new self comes to life. Not only are Christians born again when we come to salvation, but we also continue dying to self as part of the process of sanctification, growing in Christ. Dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process.