“This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father.” vs17-18
The Lord Jesus was commanded to lay His life down by God the Father. He was His Co-Equal from all eternity, but He took upon Himself the form of Man to become obedient to death. He was not merely God in a body, but an actual Man conceived in time – the God/Man in perfect union, as the angel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).”
He is God’s Son in a perfect way that no other human can be, but He is an actual Man, obedient to death, because He found His Father worthy, as He says in Ps 40:6-8, “You do not delight in sacrifice and offering; You open My ears to listen… I delight to do Your will, My God; Your instruction lives with Me.”
There is no other man like Him, and He laid down His life for the sheep, so the Father’s love for Him is justified because He is the Perfect Son.
1 You and I are sheep in His pasture, and we bear the likeness of our Great Shepherd. We have been born again to do His will from the heart, being redeemed from Satan and the clutches of unbelief. He paid a price for us particularly and definitively, so that we can be free, and now we follow Him, doing His will in reaching other sheep by the gospel. He said to the early church, primarily Jews, “But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice (John 10:16).”
He brings them by blood atonement, paying the ransom for their freedom, and we who believe are His useful tools – found people who seek people who are lost, who will definitely hear His voice!
2 Let this rejoice you child of God: We cannot fail in our mission! As we preach the truth in love, in gentleness and boldness, in straightforwardness and in wisdom, the Son of God acts by the Spirit to get the people He has purchased! He assures us that they will not hear the voice of devils. He says, “They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers (John 10:5).”
Yes, they may be in bondage now, but they cannot die that way: they must hear the Shepherd’s voice, and follow Him, because He is mighty God with all power. They must, therefore, be delivered from WHATEVER lie they are under currently, so we are not discouraged, as we cry out for mercy and usefulness.
3 Be utterly assured: There’s a people in the darkest corners of false religion, even as God gave the gospel to our ancestors in Africa, the West, and the East, and they will hear His voice and obey. They will put down their lies and turn to the truth. In Acts 13:10, a man tried to stop Paul from saving one lost sheep, but Paul turned to him and said, “You son of the Devil, full of deceit and all fraud, enemy of righteousness! Won’t you ever stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord?” And the man was set free by the blindness of the hypocrite and the gospel triumphed after all (Acts 13:12).
We may have to use sharpness when gentleness runs its course. We may have to rebuke some severely and separate them from among us, but we must not stop our mission because it continues until the end of time (2 Cor 13:10).
The elect will be saved by prayer and the word, so let us use these weapons unreservedly (Acts 6:4). Seek open doors and situations to be useful, seeking right words from God, as Job 6:25 tells us, “O how forcible are right words.” Do not be discouraged because the sheep will hear.
The Lord Jesus is the Obedient Servant that we are trusting!