Friday, February 20, 2015 12:29 AM

February 20, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015 12:29 AM
Friday, February 20, 2015 12:29 AM

John 10:10-18

Jesus’ audience must have been startled at the boldness of his claim, “I am the good shepherd.” Their shepherd was the Lord God, the Lord of whom David so contentedly sang: “The Lord is my shepherd. ” It was the Lord who led them, guided then, and cared for them through all of life. But even more, Jesus’ listeners must have been shocked at his words that he would lay down his life for his sheep.

Shepherds do not ordinarily face the threat of death in caring for their sheep. But Jesus’ sheep are in a mortal danger that Jesus will go out to confront and take on. Four times in this brief text Jesus says that he will “lay down” his life for his sheep. Jesus then makes clear that “No one” will take his life from him. His death will be a voluntary, laying down of life for his sheep.

Throughout the final hours of Jesus’ life, all the way from the mock trials to his handing over his life to the Father, we see Jesus is in complete control, resolute in laying down his life. Jesus was not murdered. He did not die a martyr’s death. Rather, with his Father, Jesus had purposed to come down and lay down his life for the sheep that we might have life “abundantly.”

Biblical scholars and grammarians say that it is significant that Jesus says that he will lay down his life “for” the sheep. That is because the preposition translated as “for” signifies “in the place of,” or “instead of.” It means that Jesus died for our sins “instead” of us. Jesus took on eternal judgment “in our place.”

Eight centuries earlier the prophet Isaiah foretold the good shepherd dying for us his sheep: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus did not come to be a great moral teacher or example, but he came to be Redeemer. He took our guilt and made it his own. He faced our judgment for us.

Dear Father,
I thank you for the provisions that you have made for me.  I thank you for loving me and continuing being my Good Shepherd.  Let me always be aware of your provision and protection.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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