Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
- John 15:13
When this scripture is connected with today’s hymn, they teach three things:
1. Jesus Christ, the Savior and King of all creation, considers us to be his friends. I think we’ve all learned pretty well from our Sunday School lessons that we are children of God and that we are brothers and sisters to His Only Begotten. However, in my earthly way of thinking, being called his friend almost seems even more meaningful. The connotation suggests that he chooses to love and care for us, instead of feeling obligated because of a family connection. Of course we love our families, and that will make the eternity that we spend with them much easier. But our friends are the people we choose to keep in our lives, and the Savior chose us.
2. Jesus died for us. Not just that. He suffered for us. He was ridiculed, beaten, mocked, spit on, and tormented. His pain was displayed for all to see. He knew ahead of time that he would have to endure all of this, and he willingly allowed it to happen. He left his place at the throne of his Father and came down to live a burdened life on Earth because he knew that he was the only one who could triumph over death and make it possible for us to live again. He wanted that for us.
3. The love Jesus has for us is the greatest possible love that anyone can have for another person. The laying down of his life was the greatest sacrifice he could have possibly made. Because of the impossibly great love he has for us, he did it without hesitation.
This hymn reminds us where our minds and hearts should be as we take the Sacrament, which is with our friend, our Savior, the reason that we will be able to gain eternal life.