No Greater Love
This devotional was written by Jim Burns
Greater love has no one than this, that he lays down his life for his friends. —John 15:13
Dan went with Enrique to meet with the gang leaders. They walked to a broken-down basketball court where the gang members hung out. Enrique spoke first. With fear in his eyes and a quivering voice, he told the leader of the gang he needed to run the gauntlet.
“Why, Enrique? What’s wrong?”
Enrique looked at Dan and then at his fellow gang members. His reply was so simple: “I asked Jesus into my heart and I know I’ve got to leave the gang.”
“Enrique,” the gang leader implored. “Let me give you a second chance. You don’t want to run the gauntlet, but you’ll need to give up this Jesus stuff.”
Enrique looked again at Dan and then replied, “I’ve made up my mind.”
The gang leader shrugged his shoulders and said, “OK, the gauntlet it is.”
Dan then looked straight into the gang leader’s eyes and said, “About this gauntlet business, is there any way to convince you not to hurt Enrique?”
The gang leader laughed and just shook his head, “No. Absolutely not.”
Dan cleared his throat and said, “Then I’d like to take Enrique’s place.” There was complete silence from the gang leader. He had probably never heard anything like this from anyone, let alone a white youth worker who had moved to the inner city from upper-middle-class suburbia.
At first, the gang leader was speechless. Then he smiled, “Let me check with the others.”
Enrique knew his gang leader would like nothing more than to beat Dan within an inch of his life. Enrique and Dan stood in silence as the others discussed the proposition before them. Dan had volunteered to take Enrique’s place. Finally, after much discussion the gang leader came back. Without even looking at Dan he told Enrique, “You can change your mind, but if you don’t you’ll run the gauntlet at 9:00 tonight.”
He then turned and walked away.
Enrique looked at Dan. “Would you really have done that for me?”
Dan put his arm around Enrique and said, “Of course I would.”
A tear appeared on Enrique’s cheek, his big brown eyes, now moist, looked up at his friend. All he could say was “Thanks.”
1. Dan was willing to run the gauntlet for Enrique. How does Dan’s faith challenge you?
2. Read John 15:13 again. Write a thank-you note to Christ for laying down His life on the cross for you.