“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A fireman would go into a burning building to save you. A soldier enters the battle field for you. A police officer goes into dangerous situation to protect you. We get the idea of laying down your life for someone.
When Jesus lays down His life for us, He's taking the place of sinners. Romans 6: For the wages of sin death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. That's what our sins earned us--death. But Jesus loves the Father and does what He came to do — trade places with sinners, trade places with you to win eternal life in Christ.
This is why Jesus has come--to set us free from our sins by taking the punishment due us. Romans 5: God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus love for you runs deep. Life flowing from the Tree of Life--Jesus on the Cross for you setting you free to live in Jesus. Consider what happened when Jesus laid down His life for you: Your sins were forgiven because Jesus absorbed the blow — took the hit for you. John 15: Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
To lay down your life for another person--maybe in the way of trading place with another to protect them. But the laying down our lives for our friends--the way it takes place every day in the life of a Christian is to forgive them. It is to not hold a grudge when one hurts you. It is not to pay them back for the wrong done to you. Instead forgive--no strings--no conditions--forgive those who have wrong you. We die to ourselves so that we can absorb the wrong and not dish it back out.
How can we do this? Only Jesus can truly do that, so you can only do that as He does it in you. But your whole Christian life is one of dying and rising. At the font, drowned and made new; by the absolution, shrugging off the Old Adam and rejoicing in the forgiveness of sins; by the Lord's Supper, coming forward with sin and death and leaving the altar filled with Jesus--life and salvation.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2) When Jesus laid down His life, all your sins are gone. The Lord's Prayer--Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. You are bringing them Jesus's forgiveness. That is a real miracle that our Lord works in and through us by His grace. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
834 O God, O Lord of Heaven and Earth
3 Thou camest to our hall of death, O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air, To drink for us the dark despair That strangled our reluctant breath. How beautiful the feet that trod The road that leads us back to God! How beautiful the feet that ran To bring the great good news to man!