Q. Scripture tells us that “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”. I believe it would require a greater love to lay down one’s life for someone who is not a friend … someone who is a stranger, or someone who is out to do you harm, or such. I think it would be much easier for someone to lay down their life for a friend then for one of these other types I mentioned. It has never made sense to me. Can you shed any light on this matter?
A. Jesus was talking to His disciples in John 15:13 when He made that statement to show them how much He loved them. But in fact He fulfilled your other requirements as well because He also died for those who hated Him.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:1-5)