Jesus said, “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”. This is a story that helps illustrate that love and how much Jesus loves us.
Once there was a boy called Jeremy, aged 10, who had a younger brother, Jonathan, just four years old. Jeremy had always loved his brother right from the time he was born. There were six children in the family in total but it was with Jonathan that Jeremy shared a bedroom and the brother with whom he played the most. He really loved being the older brother and showing young Jonathan how to kick a ball, climb out a window and build a hut. When Jonathan got hurt or looked unhappy, it was always Jeremy who was first at his side to comfort him.
Jonathan also loved Jeremy. He looked up to him as his older brother and playmate. He saw Jeremy as someone who was always fun to be with. Jonathan missed Jeremy terribly when he was at school or away.
One day Jonathan became seriously ill. At first it seemed like a normal tummy bug but throughout the day it got steadily worse and Jonathan had been taken to stay in hospital. Neither of the boys had ever really been sick before and Jeremy missed having Jonathan at home. He also missed his mum who had to spend much of her time over the next few weeks at the hospital.
It seemed so lonely in his bedroom and on many of the nights, when he was all alone, Jeremy cried himself to sleep. He just wanted his family, especially Jonathan, to be back home again together.
One day a call came from the hospital. Jeremy was needed. He didn’t know what it was all about by Jonathan’s condition had got worse and the doctors said that he needed more blood. If he didn’t have a blood transfusion he would die. The problem was that Jonathan’s blood was of a very rare kind. The hospital didn’t have any blood of the same type. The only one who did have good healthy blood that would match his brother, was Jeremy.
The doctor took Jeremy into his office and tried to explain the situation to the ten year old boy. Jonathan would die if he didn’t have his brothers blood. He asked Jeremy if he would be willing to give his blood for his brother, so his life would be saved?
Jeremy turned away for a moment to think. He then looked back at the doctor and with a determined look on his face said; “Yes, Jonathan can have my blood.”
The doctor took Jeremy back to the ward and put him onto a bed. Quickly the nurse came with her needle and was soon preparing Jeremy to take the life saving blood out of the vein in his arm.
“Will it hurt?” Jeremy asked the nurse.
“No. not much,” the nurse replied, “it will all be over very quickly.”
“Oh,” said Jeremy, and closed his eyes tightly.
When the nurse had finished. Jeremy laid on the bed. Looking up at her he said, “How long will it be before I die?”
Suddenly it dawned on her. From what the doctor had told him, Jeremy had thought he was giving all his blood to his younger brother. When Jeremy had offered his blood, he thought it was his life he had been asked to give. Jeremy had loved his brother so much that he had willingly offered his own life in the place of Jonathan’s.