By Charles Sturgeon

In our Savior’s case, it was not precisely, though it was, in a sense, death for His friends. Greater love has no man than this toward his friends that he lay down his life for them. (See John 15:13.) Read the text so, and it expresses a great truth—but greater love a man may have than to lay down his life for his friends, namely, if he dies for his enemies! And here is the greatness of Jesus’s love, that though He called us “friends” (see John 15:15), the friendship was all on His side at the first. He called us friends, but our hearts called Him enemy, for we were opposed to Him. We loved not in return for His love. “We hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

Oh, the enmity of the human heart to Jesus! There is nothing like it! Of all enmities that have ever come from the pit that is bot­tomless, the enmity of the heart to the Christ of God is the strang­est and most bitter of all! And yet for men polluted and depraved, for men hardened till their hearts are like the nether millstone, for men who could not return and could not reciprocate the love He felt, Jesus Christ gave Himself to die! “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7–8).

O love of unexampled kind!

That leaves all thought so far behind;

Where length, and breadth, and depth, and height,

Are lost to my astonished sight.

Jesus had no motive in His heart but that He loved us—loved us with all the greatness of His glorious nature—loved us, and therefore for love, pure love, and love alone, gave Himself up to bleed and die…

Bring forth the royal diadem, I say, and crown our loving Lord, the Lord of Love, for as He is King of kings everywhere else, so is He King of kings in the region of affection!

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