“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.”
These words of Jesus caused significant division among the Jews who he was speaking to. Some even accused him of having a demon. It was a radical claim, to say that he was able to give up his life and then take it back up again. It’s no wonder some of his listeners called him insane. This man claimed that he could die and come back to life. The truth is that it would be insane, that is, if it weren’t true. As we know, he made good on his promise. He laid down his life for our sake, and then took it up again.
What is so powerful about this passage isn’t just that Christ is foretelling his death and resurrection, but also the manner in which he speaks about it. He makes it very clear that no one can take his life from him without his consent. He must lay it down of his own authority. Christ was not arrested, tortured, and killed against his will. On the contrary, it is only because it was his will, in accordance with the will of God the Father, that he endured those things and gave up his life for our sake.
Remember that Jesus chose to give his life up for you. Remember that Jesus went to his death willingly, knowing that he had the power and authority to destroy the world if he so desired, but chose instead to die for us. He knew that it was necessary for him to suffer if we were to be redeemed. He chose our redemption over his own life. That’s how much he loves us. Never forget that. He didn’t have to die, rather he chose to. His desire for you and I to have salvation was greater than any pain or suffering could take away. And so it was accomplished. Praise God.
Thank you for sending your one and only Son to this sinful world for our sake. Thank you, Jesus, for leaving your rightful place in heaven to walk among men on Earth, to teach us, to lead us, and to sacrifice yourself for us. May we never forget your selfless desire to redeem us, and may we never doubt your great love for us.
In Jesus Name,