“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely diefor a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-9
So we all have friends, right? We all have people that we would do favors for. Most of the time, we’d go out on a limb for our friends. We might even be willing to take blame for them or get into trouble for them. But would we die for them?
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. But it didn’t become so until I heard my pastor dive deeper into the meaning of it. These verses really show Christ’s affection for us—even unto death.
I’ve heard people say that they love someone so much that they would die for them. That seems like a hard concept to grasp. And if put to the test, would we really do it? Would we die for a friend?
Thankfully, we don’t live in a place where we are faced with this decision on a regular basis. We rarely ever have to make decisions this tough in life. But guess what? Jesus did. In fact, Jesus’ decision was tougher.
He didn’t decide to die for His friends, but for His enemies. When I was in the high school youth group at my church, I heard my pastor talk about this verse and touch on the root of what dying for His enemies really meant for Jesus. He described it something like this:
The righteous person in the verse is someone who does everything well. He’s a hero of sorts, the public figure that everyone looks up to. He is valiant and moral and appears by human standards to be perfect. He’s a model citizen. A man that you might die for if the situation called for it because you look up to him so much. But he’s not really a close friend, merely someone admirable.
The good person in the verse is the one who is your best friend. He might have been in a few scrapes in his life, but he tries hard, and he’s mostly good. He makes you laugh and you love hanging out with him. This guy would take some punches for you and you’ve been through a lot together. If the situation calls, you might die for him because you like him so much. But even dying for this guy is a really tough decision.
However, Jesus didn’t face the tough decision of dying for the righteous person or the good person. Jesus was surrounded by sinful humanity. Humanity that wanted to kill Him. Humanity that wanted to silence Him. Humanity that didn’t want to listen to what He came to say. Most people would have walked away if given the chance to die for these people.
But guess what? Jesus didn’t walk away. Jesus loved us so much that He died on a cross for our sins, even when we were His enemy.
He wanted to reach across the divide that separated us from Him and draw us to God, even if we didn’t want to cooperate. Jesus didn’t die for us because we somehow earned it. Jesus died for us because He loved us so much that it didn’t matter what type of people we were.
He wanted us. Just for who we are. He died to make us righteous in Him. He died to call us friends.