Jesus described the greatest love a man could have.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
A life is the last thing a man can give. If he gives his life, there is nothing more he can give.
This kind of love is scarce (Rom 5:7), but when it happens it is recognized by all as the greatest love man can give.
Jesus was no ordinary man. He was God manifest in the flesh, the Messiah, the Son of God. In his ministry to Israel he taught the love taught under the law.
“ Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” – John 15:14
Jesus considered the disciples his friends since they believed and obeyed him. Those who did not follow, obey, or do what Jesus said were not his friends (Matt 10:32-33; Matt 19:22-23).
Jesus had spent the past few years of his life doing good, performing miracles, and teaching to love God and neighbor, but his greatest act of love as a man was yet to come.
Jesus would die for his friends. His body would be broken for those he considered friends. He would deliver them from their enemies (Luke 1:71).
There is nothing greater he could give as a man living perfectly under the law.
God’s Greater Love
While greater love hath no man than to die for his friends, God’s love is greater.
Christ died and rose from the dead. He had displayed the greatest love man could give to his friends, but he had not yet revealed the greatest love of God.
It was not until Christ revealed the mystery of his death and resurrection to Paul that God’s love would be so greatly commended to all (Titus 3:4-6).
Christ’s death was not only the greatest love that a man could have, but now is preached as commending the love of God.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
Man’s greatest love is to die for his friends. God’s love is commended by dying for his enemies. This is called grace.
Friends merit love, and dying for them is seen as the greatest display of that love between men.
Enemies do not merit love, and dying for them is seen as not only love but grace. The only one who could give this sort of love and grace and maintain his righteousness is God through Christ.
The Love of God
Preaching the death of Christ for those that love him is preaching the greatest love man could have, but it is not preaching the greater love of God today.
Man’s love is commended by dying for family, friends, and country.
The love of God in Christ’s death surpasses human capability.
The love of God in Christ’s death surpasses human relationship.
The love of God in Christ’s death surpasses human merit.
The love of God in Christ’s death surpasses human sin.
The love of God in Christ’s death surpasses his wrath.
It is not said that the love of God is commended in the birth of Jesus, or the life of Jesus, or even the death of Jesus as a man for his friends, which all happened under the law to his family, friends, and country.
The love of God is commended in the death of Christ for us who are not.
The love of God is commended in the death of Christ for sinners and enemies.
Preaching the love of God in Christ requires preaching the death of Christ according to the dispensation of the grace of God.