Sunday, February 8, 2015

No Greater Love (John 10:17-21)

“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.” There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”” (John 10:17–21, ESV)

It is not as if Jesus could do anything to increase the Father’s love for the Son, but actions can certainly demonstrate why the One is so loved by the Other. Jesus said a few chapters later in John 15;12-13, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (ESV) Jesus demonstrated the love of the Father through His action of laying down His life for us. Jesus Himself said that there was no greater love than this. It is the highest way that one can love another by giving himself fully for that person in order to meet their incredible need. Jesus did this out of His love for us and in so doing also demonstrated for us the kind of love that the Father and the Son had for each other. Both being fully God, the Son loved the Father so much that He willing came to give His life in full and agreeable accord with the will of the Father. Because the Father loved us so much He gave us His Son so that we might have life. This is exactly what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (NASB95)

That’s why the Father would so love the Son because the Son would willingly lay down His life knowing He also would take it up again. Though man may have willingly and hatefully sent Him to the cross, this was something that Jesus came to do according to the will of the Father from ages past. He chose to do this of His own accord because of His love for the Father and His love for us. He had all of the authority He needed to do both as He willingly received His charge from the Father.

The Father and the Son were one in their mutual love for each other, their love for man, and the plan which they chose in order to bring man back into a relationship with the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In contrast to this oneness there was division between the hearers of the message. Some of them cried out that Jesus must have a demon, be insane or both. No one in their right mind, no one who isn’t possessed by a demon would claim to be one with God. Many could claim that they had the right to lay down their life, but no one who is totally right in himself would claim that he also had the power to take his own life back up again. This is not something that man can do, and therefore Jesus must be out of his mind. Others, however, clearly objected to their argument. They objected to the concept that Jesus must be demon possessed and crazy. They said that His words were not those of someone possessed. Rather His works clearly proved that He must be sent by God because only God had the power to open the eyes of the blind, and this is clearly what Jesus did.

Clearly for some the power of God was demonstrated in such a way that their hearts softened and their eyes were opened. They heard what Jesus said and they believed. They may not have clearly understood, but they knew that these were the words of one sent by God. Others continued to find problems with His words and they continued to reject His works as substantial proof. For them their hearts remained hardened, their eyes blind, and their ears deafened. Jesus said over and over again that the only way to receive eternal life was to believe in the Son sent by the Father. And as Jesus was preparing the crowd for the quickly approaching time when He indeed would lay down His life for His sheep there were those who were beginning to recognize the voice of their Shepherd.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, ESV)

No comments: