Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.
I followed a very grim line of thought for a while this morning: who am I willing to die for?
Not in general, in specifics. I considered my family, my brothers and their wives, my nieces and nephew, my parents, my close friends. If it came down to me and one of them, would I trade my life for theirs? Would I give up life so they could keep it?
It's a horrible sort of calculus and not at all the way I usually think. This morning I fell into it because it was a grim, gray morning, the sort which requires strong measures if I don't want to nod off at my desk instead of journal, or follow every pointless flight of fancy instead of meditate on the Word and pray. So to force my brain awake and keep it on task, I took to pacing my office and asking myself very direct questions about what I was reading -- ending with this most baldly direct consideration of my life's value, compared to people I love.
Because this is what Colossians says here, and what the Bible says over and over. In a direct choice between my life and his, Jesus chose to give up his life so I could keep mine. Not in any merely metaphorical sense. He gave up his actual alive-living-life, he really and truly died, so I wouldn't.
Considering the question personally forces me to a deeper understanding of his choice and what it means. Because the only people I can imagine readily trading life for are the people I love the most and wish the very best of life to. It would still be hard, but the deepest love might just make it possible.
So apparently, when Jesus had to choose between himself and I, it seems the very deepest love is what guided his choice too.