“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may 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 I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
– John 10:17-18
Yesterday we read of the intimacy between the good shepherd and the sheep while today we read of the intimacy between the Father and the Son. The good shepherd knows and loves his sheep, and the Father knows and loves his Son. As the sheep are called to obey the good shepherd, so the Son is to obey his Father. Jesus modelled what it means to live a perfectly obedient life.
As the Son, Jesus had full authority in heaven and on earth. Despite that authority, Jesus fully submitted himself to the will of the Father and into the hands of sinful men. Later in John’s Gospel, we read of the exchange between Jesus and Pilate. Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea in the time of Jesus. Therefore, Pilate presided over the trial of Jesus. During that trial, Pilate took Jesus into his headquarters where he personally interrogated him. When Jesus would not respond to this interrogation, Pilate spoke these words to Jesus: “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”
(John 19:10). Jesus responded to Pilate, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above”
(John 19:11). Authority came from the Father and was given to any whom the Father had chosen. Jesus surrendered his godly authority to become obedient even to the point of death.
Three times in these two verses, we read that Jesus would lay down his life. It was his choice, his act of submission and obedience to his Father, that led Jesus to lay his life down. The religious and political leaders thought they acted in authority and independence, yet they were tools in the hand of the Father. The Lord used these sinful men to enact his plan and purpose for Jesus and for the children of God.
Jesus was not a victim, and he never lived in that mentality. Instead, Jesus was the perfect Son who willingly gave himself on behalf of his sheep. What more could he do to demonstrate his love for us?
In thinking of this example of Jesus, are we challenged to consider how we submit to the authority of Jesus Christ? Are we walking in obedience? Are we surrendering our will to him? Has the Lord called us to lay down our lives, our desires, our pride so that we can more faithfully live for him?
This example of Jesus laying down his life challenges us to our own obedience while it reminds us of what he willingly gave up for you and for me. Reflection:
Consider your life. Are you modelling what it means to live a surrendered, obedient life unto the Lord? What more may he be asking you to relinquish today?
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