Today’s Reading: 1 John 3:7-24
Key Verse: We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16
In chapter 3 John is elaborating on love. He’s saying I want to make sure that you understand the kind of love that I’m talking about – Sacrificial Love. Don’t be fooled by those who flippantly throw the term around and who don’t back it up with some kind of sacrificial action.
You can tell true Sacrificial Love by this — that he laid down his life for us. Jesus came to lay down his life for us on the cross. He loved us so much that he took upon himself the sin of the world. He took our sins to the cross where he was crucified and our slates were wiped clean. Love found it’s way to a cross and John says, This is the kind of love that ought to characterize our lives as followers of Jesus. You ought to be doing the same thing if you’re a true follower. For true love manifests itself in sacrificial action. We ought to lay down our lives for one another.
During his reign, King Frederick III of Prussia ran into financial trouble. Wars had been costly and as he tried to rebuild the economy he kept coming up with serious shortfalls.
After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia to bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. And for each ornament received the king determined to exchange a decoration of iron as a symbol of his gratitude. Each decoration was inscribed “I gave gold for iron, 1813.”
The response was overwhelming. The women cherished their gifts from the king more than their jewelry. The reason, of course, is clear. The decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king. It was a sign of their loyalty. It actually became unfashionable to wear jewelry.
Thus was established the order of the Iron Cross — members wore no other ornaments except a cross of iron.
When we come to our king, we too exchange the symbols of luxury and prestige for a cross — the symbol of sacrificial Love. Actually, it’s not just the symbol we wear, but it’s a lifestyle of practical and tangible sacrifice.