Scripture: John 10:17-18, ‘The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.’
Observations: Jesus is talking about how he is the Good Shepherd, and one of the marks of a good shepherd is that they lay down their life for their sheep (v11). The fact that Jesus is willing to lay down his life for his people is ‘the reason God the Father loves Jesus.’ This isn’t emotional blackmail i.e. lay down your life or I won’t love you! Rather the love between the three members of the Trinity is based on mutual obedience. Jesus lays down his life of his own accord. It’s easy to think Jesus’ death was the result of other’s actions, but while that is true, it is also the result of God’s sovereign plan. Jesus choose to lay down his life, because that was God’s will in sending him into our world. Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and it’s interesting that in this verse Jesus doesn’t just talk about laying down his life, but also taking it up again. Jesus has the authority to lay down his life and take it up again. God’s sovereign plan wasn’t just Jesus’ death on the cross, it also included his resurrection.
Application: Firstly, it’s amazing to hear from Jesus’ own lips his commitment to God’s purposes, not just in his obedience to death, but to God’s whole plan, including his resurrection from the dead. Jesus is absolutely certain of God’s will for him and he and God are working side by side to achieve it. It is also amazing to hear Jesus talk about God’s love for him. Jesus’ obedience flows from the knowledge that God loves him, and so Jesus’ obedience is willingly given. How do I respond to God’s great love for me? Am I committed to God’s will for my life? Am I living a life of humble obedience? Whenever I start to wonder if what God asks is too hard, I will remember what Jesus was willing to do for his loving heavenly Father.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You loved Your Son because he humbly submitted himself to do Your will, dying on the cross and rising from the dead. And Lord, Jesus did that to show how much You loved me. You gave what was most precious to You in order to save me from my sin and give me eternal life. Lord, forgive me when in the face of Your great love my commitment and love for You is timid and weak. Lord, help me to love and serve You with the same devotion as Your Son, Jesus. Fill me with Your Spirit that the mutual obedience You have within Yourself might be reflected in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.