Lent 2017 // Day Thirty

Laying Down One's Life for Jesus

John 13:36-38 Matthew 25:40

I love Mother Angelica! I learned about her recently but I just love her quotes, they are pure truth and easy to comprehend and she had a witty sense of humor! She said “It doesn’t make a difference how many people God loves, He loves you as if no else existed”. Jesus died for YOU! Jesus died for me, Jesus died for our neighbor, our family members, people we struggle to make peace with, Jesus died for all humanity. In turn, He expects us to follow His ways and He will guide us on the right path. Knowing that Jesus died for YOU, would you be willing to lay down your life for Jesus? He wants a personal relationship with YOU.

If you struggle with the thought of laying down your life for Jesus, you’re most certainly not alone. Even wonderful saints and apostles struggled, so we are in good company ;) In John 13:36-38, Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.” Even Peter thought he would die for Jesus, and yet we all know that initial story. That gospel in particular shows the fear we all possess of death and yet how sweet redemption can be. We have the blessing of being able to continue trying and striving to do right in God’s eyes.

One of my favorite saints is Maximilian Kolbe. He had one of the biggest devotions to Our Blessed Mother that I have ever known and He laid down His life for Jesus. Let me explain! We are made in the image of God and Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:40 “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” St. Max Kolbe was held in a concentration camp during WWII and when a guard was about to take a man to be killed, the man said he had a family, and Kolbe volunteered in his place. During that time Kolbe preached and survived what they had initially intended to kill him so he was killed by injection. I cannot think of a better example than St. Max Kolbe was in laying down His life for Jesus. He followed Jesus’s words to death, by dying for that man so that he could be with his family, Kolbe died for Jesus and gave that man new life (and the man and his wife were reunited and the man lived to be 93!).

Now we are not all called to be martyrs, we are each called according to God’s will. However, through these beautiful saints we can see humanity at it’s finest. We all get scared, especially scared of death, but when it comes to laying down our life for Jesus, if you are called to, I think in that moment, He gives you the strength. For those of us not called, let’s offer prayers for the martyrs and ask for God’s strength for them and for us for our individual paths in life. - Ally

Reflect: What do you think your reaction would be if Jesus told you He wanted you to lay down your life for Him?

Act: Pray for all those that struggle with doing the will of God (basically all of us at some point), that God will give them the strength to carry out His will and comfort them