"You will lay down your life for Me, will you?" —John 13:38
Peter promised Jesus he would lay down his life for Him (Jn 13:37). That same night, Peter lay weeping bitterly after realizing he had denied Jesus three times (Lk 22:62). Judas probably didn't intend to betray Jesus when he began following Him. Yet he allowed his love for Jesus to erode to the extent that Satan could enter his heart at the moment when Jesus reached out to him in love (Jn 13:26-27).
We too can deny or betray Jesus if we focus on our own desires rather than His. "When we deny Him by our deeds, we in some way seem to lay violent hands on Him" (Catechism, 598). Jesus showed Peter and all of us how to lay down our lives in love:
- Jesus could have enjoyed the bliss of heaven with His Father, but He came to earth to save us. In His public ministry, Jesus had "nowhere to lay His head" (Lk 9:58). However, He focused not on His own comfort, but on laying down His life for us, His helpless sheep (Jn 10:11).
- "The Lord laid upon [Jesus] the guilt of us all" (Is 53:6). "For the sake of the joy which lay before Him He endured the cross, heedless of its shame" (Heb 12:2). Jesus let a painful crown of thorns and a heavy cross be laid upon His head and shoulders (Jn 19:2, 17). Jesus overlooked the fact that no one was present to lay down their life for Him and painfully persevered in laying down His life for those He loved (Jn 15:13).
During this Holy Week, allow Jesus to lay bare Your heart. Repent deeply and lay your sins before Him in Confession. Lay your life at Jesus' feet (Lk 17:16) and follow Him to the cross.
Prayer: Jesus, "I will lay down my life for You!" (Jn 13:37)
Promise: "I will make you a light to the nations, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." —Is 49:6
Praise: Praise Jesus, Who gave up His all to give us all.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008
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