Laying Down His Life
From the series Letters to the Prison
Continuing our study of John 10, Jesus is about to make an astonishing claim about himself. But before we look at it, let’s look back briefly at last week’s verse:
- And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. -John10:16
One flock under One Shepherd --our Great God and Savior Jesus, The Christ. What this means is that Christians are all under the guidance and authority of Jesus regardless of our location, race, age, sex, social status, denomination, nationality, wealth, or any other distinguishing feature. Therefore, we need to love and respect one another. We who are called out by Jesus and recognize his voice and obey him are part of his flock. We are subject to him, and we belong to him. He owns us. He paid for us by laying down his life in obedience to the Father:
- For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. -John 10:17
God The Father loves Jesus because he obediently and sacrificially lays down his life.
Now let’s not skim over the last few words of that verse… Jesus is talking about his own life… about laying it down and taking it up again… and he has more to say:
- No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. -John 10:18a
If we’re not sitting in stunned silence with our mouths hanging open after reading these words, maybe we need to read them again. There’s nothing mysterious about them. There’s no way to understand them any differently. Jesus is making himself plainly clear. It’s easy to understand.
Nevertheless, friends, of all the claims Jesus makes, this might be the most amazing one ever.
And he makes good on it.
In fact, Jesus is already demonstrating --as he stands there, in Jerusalem, in the presence of the Pharisees who want him dead and are actively conspiring to have him arrested and murdered (John 7:30, 45-46; 9:40)—that no one will lay a hand on Jesus until the appointed time.
As we approach Easter, let us joyfully remember this most astounding claim that Jesus makes about his authority over even his own life… and proves it himself by rising from the dead in fulfillment of the Scriptures after allowing himself to be crucified (Matthew 26:52-54).
Jesus says one more thing:
- This charge I have received from my Father. -John 10:18b
We’ll look at this next week. Until then, consider: Is Jesus who he says he is? We love you!