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The most famous sacrifice, in all of history, is the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

The second most famous sacrifice in history is that of the angel Seth, in the movie City of Angels (*spoiler alert).

Jokes.… It’s probably not the second most famous sacrifice, but one that people fell in love with and remember. This idea of sacrifice for love is one that’s been depicted in stories, plays, books and movies for a long time. You might’ve heard of the song “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls. This song was specifically written for the movie City of Angels. In an interview, lead singer John Rzeznik said this: “I was thinking about the situation of the Nicolas Cage character in the movie. This guy is completely willing to give up his own immortality, just to be able to feel something very human.

And I think, 'Wow! What an amazing thing it must be like to love someone so much that you give up everything to be with them.' That's a pretty heavy thought."

John 3:16 (NIV): “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God so loved us, that He gave us Jesus. Jesus so loved God the Father, that He was willing to die a gruesome human death on our behalf.

In Philippians 2:6-11 (NIV), Paul says this about Jesus: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Of a more romantic sacrifice we cannot conceive.

Yet, it didn’t end there. There is another way to live sacrificial love, other than romantic love, or even motherly love. (Honestly, is there anything more self-sacrificing than a mother?! Anything she wouldn’t go without for her child? She would give up her kidney for her child; she would literally die for her child if that meant to save her child.)

Jesus said in John 15:3 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

1 John 3:16 (NIV) says: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

The Passion Translation says: “This is how we’ve discovered love’s reality: Jesus sacrificed his life for us. Because of this great love, we should be willing to lay down our lives for one another.”

This is sacrificial love in friendship.

To lay down our lives.

Sacrificial friendship.

There is nothing romantic about this. It’s possibly noble to lay down our lives for someone else in war, but here, in church, in connect groups, serving together… it’s a ludicrous notion. If you’ve ever had friends, you know it’s great and messy and can lead to huge heartache and disappointment – sadly, yes, even in Christian circles. And women, sisters in Christ – sho, the hurt and damage we can cause, have caused.

In Philippians 2, the part about Jesus, from verse 6, actually starts with Paul saying in verse 5: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:…” Jesus knows a bit about this ludicrous concept of laying down His life. He had 12 disciples, basically friends. He had 3 in His close circle and 9 in His outer circle, but all of them spent a lot of time together. Before Jesus died, one inner-circle chommie (FRIEND) denied knowing Jesus, some ran away in His time of need, and an outer-circle chommie betrayed Him for some silver, which is what got the ball of severe persecution rolling in the first place (if you are going to betray me to death, at least do it for a big house, 5 cars, horses, a labrador puppy, gold and a Jet, not just for some silver).

By John 21, the betrayer died by suicide, the denier went back to his old job, and resurrected Jesus still died for these bad chommies and us, AND reconciles with the denier.

Sacrificial friendship: what we can learn from Jesus:

Keep the big picture in mind – people are sinful and are going to hurt, betray and disappoint you. However, God calls us to more, to still do life with brothers and sisters, in community, to love and to lay down our lives for one another.

Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23) – this doesn’t mean we put up fences topped with barbed wire, but we entrust our hearts to God, our Protector, whilst we do life with others.

Not everyone can be in the inner circle – Jesus had 3 close friends; there’s wisdom in that.

There is insurmountable grace – for us if we have messed up, and for others, when they hurt us.

Jesus made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant – we do not get to live just for ourselves, our spouses and our children, but also for brothers and sisters in Christ. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) says: ”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” This is Christ’s way.

It’s all to the Father’s glory – Jesus set the example of sacrificial friendship. We can do what Jesus did and bring glory to God through our friendships.

Dear friend, I don’t know where you stand with this truth. However, I do know that once we’ve accepted this truth of living sacrificially, in friendships and in our hearts and minds, the Lord can use us in even greater ways. This is the reality of the love of Jesus, to lay down our lives for one another.


Your Friend


Women of Reverence welcomes our regular contributor Yolande Vincent. Together with her husband are pastors at Venture Church, Randburg, Johannesburg. She is co-owns a hair and make-up business. Yolande loves the word of God and is a preacher/Bible Teacher.

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