|Listen to the Bible|
Thoughts and Commentary on Today's ReadingJohn 15:13 says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Yahshua Himself is the quintessential example of this passage. It was His great love for us that motivated Him to suffer and die for us. Of course, Yahshua even went beyond this, in that while we were still His spiritual enemies, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8).
There are many inspiring stories of Christ's followers who have loved Him enough to lay down their lives for Him. To live for Yah is the highest joy and to die for Him is considered a great honor.
Consider the inspiring story of Jatya, told in the magazine The Voice of the Martyrs, September 2017 issue:
A year after facing persecution for the eighth time, 90-year old Jatya is prepared to suffer yet again...
Jayta is eager to share the evidence of his faithful evangelism with visitors. The frail, yet energetic man lives in southern India, in a village heavily populated with paid informants for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RRS). The RRS, a national volunteer organization with more than 5 million members, intimidates and even forces Christians to return to their nation's "Hindu roots".Jatya has a manila packet stuffed with photos and newspaper articles recounting the times he has been beaten for sharing the gospel in his village.
It all started in 1992, when Jatya refused to sign a document promising to stop evangelizing. Police officers responded to Jatya's "stubbornness" by breaking all of his fingers.
Three years later, Hindu radicals beat him and dragged him to the police station, where he spent a week in jail. And the scars on Jatya's left arm and hand are constant reminders of the theird time he was persecuted for his faith. A Hindu neighbor whipped him with a bicycle chain, causing severe lacerations.
After each brutal beating, however, Jatya returns home from the hospital, grabs his Bible and heads back into his viallge. After all, people still need Christ.Truly Jatya, and others like him, are honestly friends of God.
"Until my last breath," he said, "I want to serve and live my life for Jesus."
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."What about us? We who are not yet suffering these things... Are we pursuing a friendship with God that is so deep that we would take suffer 8 times at this magnitude, when we are 90 years old - no less?
The shema (the heart of the Torah - and the Bible) says,
"Love Yahweh your God with all your heart and soul and might..." (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
I pray that I will be so faithful when put to such a test! And I am not satisfied to merely leave the test results to chance. Right now, I prepare for faithfulness - in extreme situations - by developing a daily love relationship with my King. And also, "He who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."