Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (St. John 15:13).
Upon my high school graduation in 1961, I was given the privilege of college life in Dubuque, Iowa. Since I had grown up in metropolitan Chicago, you can imagine my startled awakening that first morning of dormitory life, when - instead of its usual flowing strains of classical music - my radio alarm sounded with the crass pronouncement of the price of hogs.
Having awakened in this manner for several long-ago years, I've been lead to ponder the value of life. How much would I be willing to pay for a hog? How might we place a price tag on a human being? Shall we say we'd pay $10 a pound, or maybe a billion dollars?
Jesus didn't care. He paid the full price for each one of us. It didn't matter that He knew we would be blemished, damaged, and wallowing in the mire. Jesus paid the whole price.
He didn't hold out for a bargain. He didn't say, "Well, this one's got a broken leg, this one's too skinny, this one's too fat." He didn't say, "This one's too dirty, this one's crippled, this one's a bully, this one can't get along with the other pigs."
No, Jesus paid it all, regardless of the smut, the dirt, the soot or grime, regardless.... He said none of these things. He said, "I'll take all of them, bruised, broken, or dirty. I'll pay for them all."
What a friend, this Jesus, Son of God, Person of the Holy Trinity, King of kings, and Lord of lords. When He went to that Cross, He extended not only His hand but His life in friendship.
Shall I accept the friendship of Christ? He offered it to every human being of all time. May I call Him friend? Certainly, that was Christ's intent all along.
Once I take His hand in friendship I become a kid of the King, I am crowned with His redemption, and am given the right to enter into the presence of the Almighty God, purified and made righteous by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The price of hogs in 2012: approximately $85 per pound. So if you were a pig and weighed 200 pounds, you'd be worth about $17,000. Jesus says there is no price too great, that you are priceless, that His love for you is greater than the unimagined price of heaven and earth.
He has called you His friend.
Have you received the hand of Christ, or have you shunned Him? Have you been told how much He cares? (I'm telling you now, His love for you is boundless, great enough to have sacrificed His life, yes, just for you and for me.) If you don't believe me, believe God's Word. You can find Him in the Holy Bible. Is it too difficult to accept that anyone, especially God, could possibly love us that much? Why? Shall we take His hand now and trust the Love?
Thank you for loving me that much, my awesome Lord, that in spite of my horrible thoughts, words, and deeds, you have chosen to lay down your life for me.