Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (JOH 10:17-18).
Therefore. I want you to notice that it is a connecting word. "Therefore doth my Father love me." The love of the Father is revealed in His glory that He has received by the unconditional, perfect submission of His Son unto His will. "This commandment have I received of my Father."
Now, the words of our text clearly reveal that our Saviour was speaking--not only in His capacity as very man, but also as very God--in the capacity as our Mediator. He is a member of the Triune Godhead. He is a member of the Trinity. He is God with us. He was God from eternity, and He will be God unto eternity.
The Father has loved His Son from all eternity as we see so beautifully revealed in PRO 8:25-31. Take notice of the beauty of the unity of purpose, the oneness of spirit, the oneness of mind between the Father and the Son from all eternity. "Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men."
We see here how that the Father loved the Son, and He rejoiced always. "I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him." There was mutual harmony of thinking between Father and Son. There was mutual joy.
PRO 3:19 tells us that, "The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens." Now, we can go into the New Testament and read in 1CO 1:30, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
Now we notice that these Scriptures clearly personify our Saviour as Wisdom. They personify our Saviour as Wisdom even as He is personified as the Word in JOH 1:1-3, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
This is speaking of the Person of Christ, none other than the dear Son of God. That is equally true in these verses that we just cited. It is speaking of the Person of Christ.
Do you see the blessed harmony between those words and what we find here in Proverbs PRO 8:25-31. "Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men."
Without Him was not anything made. It was by the power and the authority of the Word, Wisdom of God, that all was created. Christ is Wisdom, without Him nothing was created.
The eternal relationship between the Father and His Son is what Jesus likens unto His relationship with His sheep. I want you to notice how the Lord Jesus takes His sheep, His dear people, and He brings them into this same relationship with Himself as He has with the Father. Take notice of this in JOH 10:14-15, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." Do you see that blessed, intimate relationship?
Notice how the Lord reconciles His people with Himself. How there is that oneness of relationship. He says, "And I lay down my life for the sheep. And now, therefore, our text starts with the word, therefore. He is bringing about that state of reconciliation that the Father has chosen for His people. He is bringing about that blessed oneness between Christ and the Father, between Christ and His people. That is perfect harmony.
"Therefore doth my Father love me." I want you to see that word therefore is connecting what He said prior to what He has said following. This reveals an eternal relationship. Verses 14-15 tell us, "I am the good shepherd and know my sheep and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep." Our text is speaking about the willingness of Jesus to lay down His life for His people. We see the confirmation of this in Verse 18. "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." No man takes His life from Him. He lays it down willingly, and that is in an unconditional perfect submission to the command of His Father.
What an eternal wonder the love of the Father is in giving His only begotten Son for His sheep. Not only does Christ lay down His life in unconditional submission, but now think of the love of the Father in giving His Son. The Father sees His people, who are lost, undone, and scattered as sheep upon the mountains who have no shepherd. In response He sends His own Son to be their Shepherd. He sends His own Son to lay down His life for His sheep.
Think of what an eternal wonder it is that the Father has a desire to be reconciled with His people, to have them brought again into that state of oneness, an intimate relationship with Himself and His Son. He sent His Son that He might lay down His life that He might take it again. Also, think of the love of the Son that He would share the eternal love of His Father with His sheep. Think of the wonder of wonders that God so loved His dear people, so loves His own, that He would not only give His Son, but His Son would give Himself. Why? They might again be made into one and in reconciliation again with God.
JOH 17:24 says, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." This love that the Father is revealing here in our text: "Therefore doth my father love me" because He restores that blessed state of reconciliation that was lost through sin. He restores that by laying down His life. He also says, "Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Look at that prayer. He says, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory." He wants His people to sit with Him on His throne. He wants them to be one with Him, and He has now laid down His life to redeem them from the power of sin. It is His desire that they may no longer roam in the world and under the power of sin, but that they might be redeemed from iniquity and saved from their sins. Then they might come to where they can serve God acceptably in this life and to join Him on His throne hereafter.
Now I want you to notice that our text begins with the connecting word therefore--i.e., because of the blessed, intimate relationship that Christ establishes with those whom the Father has so loved from eternity that He gave the unspeakable gift of His Son. "Therefore, doth my Father love me" because the Son has humbled Himself, and submitted to such unconditional demands for obedience to give His life. Why did He give His life? What moved Him to give His life?
JOH 10:18 says, "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself." When I was a child I would get very emotional when we would read about the crucifixion of Christ. Those terrible Romans and those terrible chief priests took Jesus and nailed Him to the cross, but look what we see here. It wasnt the chief priests. It wasnt the Romans. It wasnt the soldiers. Jesus said, "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. [Why? Because] This commandment have I received of my Father." V: 18.
Jesus laid down His life in unconditional surrender to the Fathers will. And therefore doth my Father love me, because I want you to see that word because in there. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again." The Father was so glorified by such unconditional obedience that when He looked upon the blood of Christ as He was hanging upon the cross, His wrath upon our sin could be appeased.
The Fathers wrath was so kindled against sin and the sinner; there was only one way it could be appeased, and that is by this unconditional surrender of His Son. Now when the Father sees His Son in the way of obedience, laying down His life as He was commanded to do, there was place for the appeasing of His wrath. His wrath was appeased when He saw the blood of His Son that was shed as the price that Jesus paid for our iniquity.
When Jesus said, "I lay down my life for the sheep," He was speaking of His lost sheep. He was not talking about sanctified saints! He wasnt talking about people who made one slight mistake in their lives and are therefore under the condemnation of the law, but were repentant sinners and that were asking for salvation. He laid down His life for them. He lay down His life for His lost sheep who were lost in the world of sin. They were lost in the power of sin and in the service of Satan. They were yet sinners.
ROM 5:6-8 says, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [It was for those who were still living in sin and loving sin. Those hearts were still filled with bitterness and hatred against God who were still at enmity with God. Now watch this in Verse 7.] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." In other words, for someone who was a righteous man, somebody would even dare to venture to die in his place if he was being unjustly condemned, but Christ didnt die for a righteous man. He died for sinners, for hell-deserving sinners who were living in bitterness, malice and hatred against Him.
Do you see how that compounds the wonder of His grace? When Adam sinned, a person would think that Adam would have come pleading before the Lord and say, "I have sinned. Pardon mine iniquity. Deliver me from the power of sin." Instead, Adam fled from the Lord, and he hid himself from the Lord. That is what we are by nature.
Sometimes we see this natural condition in our own children, family, and relatives who are yet walking under the power of sin. We see what man is by nature, but we may not despair because that is where the Lord found you and me. When you and I were yet under the power of sin and we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This so compounds the wonders of His grace.
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again." JOH 10:17. For whom? Jesus died for hell-deserving sinners, for sinners who are in bitterness and hatred against Him. When I used the word for, does not mean "on behalf of," I mean "instead of." It means, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." ROM 5:8. In other words, He died where we deserved to die. He died for us. That means instead of us. He died that we might live. What a wonder of grace!
The Father's love for His Son equally extends unto Him in His incarnation. We need to understand, in His human nature, the Father loved His Son equally as He did from eternity in His Godhead. At His baptism, where Jesus began His mediatorial work, the Father declared in audible voice saying in MAT 1:11, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The Father spoke with audible voice from heaven, in the presence of Jesus and His enemies. "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Now our text says, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again." The Father was so pleased with such unconditional surrender of His Son. He was so glorified, not only in His Sons obedience and submission, but the fruition of the glory of the Father was in rewarding His Son for such obedience as we see in PHI 2:9-11. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
There we see how that the Father was so glorified by giving Jesus a name that is above every name. By exalting Him to the highest and placing all power in His hands, and giving Him all authority, the Father was again glorified. That was the fruition of the Fathers glory in rewarding His Son for such unconditional obedience.
"I lay down my life, that I might take it again." V:17b. The Father not only commanded Jesus to lay His life down, but He also commanded Him to take it back again, because He must become the victor over death, over sin, over hell and over the grave. He must become the victor over Satan and all his hosts. He must bring again those captive saints who were captive under Satans rule back again into the service of Christ and His Father.
Now, in His incarnation, our Saviour's perfect submission to His Father's will, and His perfect humble obedience to His will becomes the central theme of His Father's glory as becomes evident from the very next verse.
Look at JOH 10:17-18, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
"No man taketh it from me," even though the chief priests and the scribes and the Pharisees gathered together and conspired against Him. Jesus gave His life even though Pilate entered sentence against Him, and the Roman soldiers took Him, and made Him bear His own cross, and nailed Him to the tree. We need to understand that this is not what brought Him to the cross. What brought Him to the cross was humble obedience to His Fathers command because "This commandment have I received of my Father."
Our Saviour was not overcome by the treachery of Judas! Jesus was not over- powered at His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Saviour voluntarily endured His unjust arraignment before Caiaphas, and trial before Pilate. He voluntarily endured the insults of the soldiers and submitted Himself to His unjust sentence unto death. He submitted Himself to them. The Lord Jesus Christ was in obedience to His Father. Here He is the King of kings. Here He is the Creator of the Universe. By the power of His word all things were created. Now, He condescended so low, that He submitted Himself to His enemies and He allowed them to do this to Him, because the Father commanded Him. He submitted Himself to His unjust sentence unto death, and the accursed death upon the tree.
Look where the Apostle Paul said in 2CO 13:4, "For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God," but that does not mean that our Lord Jesus Christ had no power against the forces that came against Him. In Verse 18 He said, "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." He submitted Himself voluntarily in obedience to His Fathers command.
In MAT 26:51-54 we read, "And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? [He wasnt powerless. He was not overcome by the power of the enemy. He was in submission to their cruelty because it was His Fathers will.] But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
This is submission. You and I have never, ever, learned the real meaning of submission and never will fully understand it. Our human capacity of thinking is not capable of fully comprehending that Jesus was in total submission, voluntarily enduring these insults and His unjust sentence. His submission unto death, the accursed death upon the tree, was all in submission to His Fathers will because His Father had commanded it.
Can you imagine His almighty power and almighty strength submitting to weak worms of the dust? He allowed them to murder Him and crucify Him; He allowed them to torture Him and torment Him to death only because His Father commanded it. This is the price He paid to take away the penalty of the sins that you and I have committed.
In JOH 10:15 we read, "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." Now our text says in JOH 10:17, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again." That word therefore becomes so precious and powerful. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."
Our Saviour did not succumb to death through weakness. When He lay down His life, it was not that His life expired in weakness. I have watched more than one person approaching the borders of death, and they become weak, and their voices become very, very soft, and you can scarcely hear them speak because they become weak as they succumb to the powers of death. This was not the case with Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ did not succumb to death through weakness, but He gave up His life in its full vigor and strength, but in submission to His Father's command He lay down His life.
Now look what we read in MAT 27:46-50, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried [not a weak voice] with a loud voice [He still had strength.], saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost." He gave His life. He lay down His life. His life was not taken from Him. He lay down His life because His Father had so commanded. He gave up the ghost; He yielded up the ghost. He surrendered it to the Fathers will.
The Father's wrath upon our sin could only be appeased by the blood of Christ because of the spirit in which He lay down His life. It was the spirit in which He lay it down. His spirit or attitude of unconditional surrender to the will of the Father made His blood acceptable as an appeasing of the Fathers wrath. We sin in rebellion. The Fathers wrath upon sin was out of the rebellious attitude in which we sin. We sin in a way of turning our backs upon the Lord. If Christ is going to be our substitute and appease the wrath of the Father upon our rebellion and upon our independent attitude, then He must come in our human nature, take our place, and lay down His life in unconditional surrender.
David spoke of this spirit of Christ in a prophetic way in PSA 40:8, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." The Father is pleased when there is reconciliation, not only by the appeasing of His wrath and paying the penalty of sin, but when there is a renewing of the state of the mind. The new state of mind reflects the heart, the attitude, that now says, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." This delight in doing the will of the Father is what was so pleasing and glorifying unto Him.
This is synonymous with what Jesus said in JOH 4:34, "Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." In other words, what is it that we feed upon? What is it that gratifies our hearts? What is it that pleases and nourishes our souls? "Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
Jesus fed upon doing the will of His Father, and that is where the Father was so pleased. That is why the Father so loved Him. "Therefore" the Father loved Him, because He had the Fathers will as His chief delight. We need to understand that Christ in His human nature not only came to redeem us from the penalty of sin, but also to give us the example of what pleases the Father in our human nature. Do we walk acceptably before God? Then we need to understand that if we have not that Spirit of Christ, we are none of His. We must dwell in that spirit. If we do not have that spirit of submission and that delight in doing the will of God, we are none of His.
The pre-eminence of Christ was fully revealed at the cross. The pre-eminence of Christ revealed itself in His birth. It reveals itself throughout His life. It reveals itself throughout His Deity, but especially at the cross. I want you to see through this. It is very important that we understand this principle.
It was at the cross where the Father's glory reached its fruition. When Jesus was approaching the cross He said in JOH 12:27-28, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour." His human nature, death was just as genuine to Jesus as it is to you and me. In His human nature He had a soul and He had feelings, and He had a fear of death. "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?" To think that the Creator of heaven and earth came into such a soul trouble that He stands there and says, "What shall I say?" Should He ask to be saved from this ordeal? It was for this cause or reason He came to earth.
What was the cause? The cause was that He might come unto this hour to go through the very thing He was facing, that is that He might be put to death as a malefactor on the cross and die a shameful death. Not only was He to die, but He was to die an ignominious death, being put to death as being the off-scouring of the world, but now what does He say? "Father, glorify thy name." He had the glory of the Fathers name as His uppermost desire. He desired that more than for His own life. He desired the glorifying of His Fathers name more than to escape the pangs of death. He had that as His uppermost desire.
As we become quickened by that Spirit of Christ, that the desire to glorify our Father in heaven becomes our highest priority. Verse 28 concludes, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
The Father glorified His name in that perfect obedience of His Son, but He will glorify it again, and that is in giving Him the reward that He had earned. The Father was glorified in the first instance by the humble obedience of His Son unto death, even the death of the cross, but He was glorified "again" in giving His Son His reward for such humble obedience. We see in PHI 2:9-11, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." Verse 11 especially shows this glorifying, "And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Now the Father is so glorified that you and I will bow before His Son and confess Him to be Lord, not only Saviour, but also as Lord. We will come into His kingship and serve Him as King, as Lord.
Now, our text says in JOH 10:17-18, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
Our Saviour did not enter death as a victim of His enemies, but triumphantly. As our Saviour entered into death, He lay down His life that He might take it again. He lay down His life that He might become the conqueror of death that He might triumph over death. "I lay down my life that I might take it again." This, Jesus did, here, triumphantly, as a conqueror of the powers of death, hell, and the grave so that His sheep may boldly say as we see in 1CO 15:54-55b, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
Do you see what a powerful victory that has been gained over death? He not only lay down His life, but He took it back again. He now took His life again, and has now become the conqueror and the victor over death and over the grave. Death is swallowed up in victory; the sting of death is gone.
Our Saviour ascribes His resurrection to His own power: "He says I lay it down that I might take it again." However, we also see the Trinity. We see how Christ and the Father are one, how that the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son are all one. I want you to see why. Jesus said, "No man taketh [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." So He ascribes His resurrection unto His own power.
When the Pharisees demanded of Jesus a sign, He also spoke of His own resurrection power, saying in JOH 2:19, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." So, there He is speaking about the temple of His body. He is speaking of His own resurrection power. In other words, that He took His life back again.
However, the resurrection of Christ was the work of the Trinity. In ROM 6:4 we are told, "Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father." In ROM 8:11 His resurrection was ascribed to the Holy Spirit, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." So the resurrection of Christ is ascribed to the Son. It is ascribed to the Father, and it is ascribed to the Holy Spirit, but the Lord Jesus says, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay it down and I take it up again." So the Father is instrumental in His resurrection in that He commanded His Son to come out of the grave again.
These passages of Scripture are not contradictory, but they show the very same blessed oneness of Spirit and purpose that we see in what Jesus said in JOH 10:14-16. I want you to see that blessed harmony of purpose. I want you to see that it proves the oneness of Spirit there is in the Trinity and in the purposes of God. "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
Notice that Christ speaks of the oneness of Himself and His Father. The oneness of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and the oneness of God and the church are shown. "My sheep know me and I am known of mine." He speaks of the oneness of the Father and then He talks about His other flock, in other words, the gentiles. Jesus is not only the Shepherd of the Jews but also of the gentiles. What does this teach us? It is a very important lesson. We cannot say, "Well we have to be a member of this or this given denomination." Jesus says, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold."
As we look at this denomination or that denomination, we could say that we dont agree with their teachings on different subjects, but do you know something? When the Holy Spirit comes and quickens, and when the Holy Spirit works grace, regardless what church they are in or what denomination they are in, the Lord is not hindered by the error of their teaching. When the Lord comes with His Holy Spirit and when He draws them, they are going to be converted; they are going to be born again in spite of their teachings.
He has other folds, but they will become one fold with one shepherd over them. We are not going to have a mixed multitude. It isnt a matter of which denomination or of which family. It is a matter of which person within that family. The Lord will take one and leave another within the same family. A husband and wife might be sleeping together all their lives. One is taken and the other is not. The Lord is free and sovereign. His sheep know His voice, and He knows His sheep.
We talked about the example of Lot and His wife in the last chapter; one was taken and the other was left. The Lord knows. You and I may mis-guess. We may think that one is a dear Christian, and he is not. We may see another one and think bitter things against that person, but that may be the very one the Lord will save. We have to understand that there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd. They all are going to walk under the shepherdship of Christ.
Our text says, "This commandment have I received of my Father." And this is synonymous with what Jesus said in JOH 6:38-39, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
The Lord teaches us in His Word that the Father had commanded Him not only to lay down His life but also had commanded Him to take it again. Why? Our resurrection is found in the resurrection of Christ. It is only in that blessed resurrection of Christ that we find victory over the power of sin and are brought out of the power of sin into walking in the newness of life. The resurrection of Christ is the power that brings us out of the power of sin.
Now, this teaching of self-sacrificial love by walking in the way of the cross comes against all human reasoning. I want you to think about the self-sacrificial love of Christ and how that comes against all human reasoning. He had power enough with one word that He could have had twelve legions of angels and could have destroyed all of His enemies. Doesnt it come against human reasoning to have all of that power and allow Himself to be brought unto the cross and allow them to put Him there. In other words, that His flesh might be mortified, that He might be nailed to the cross and die. It comes against our human reasoning to have self-sacrificial love, to live in the Spirit of Christ, to take the lower seat and prefer others ahead of ourselves.
We must take up our cross and follow Him as we see from the verse following our text. I want you to see how that all human reasoning came against His teaching. In JOH 10:19-21 we read, "There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?" Now they could see that there were some who were hearing Him. The Lord Jesus said His sheep hear His voice. Some of those were hearing Him, and those who did not hear Him thought He had a devil. He "is mad. Why hear ye him?"
The miracle that Christ did in opening the eyes of the one born blind and his testimony of how the Lord Jesus opened His eyes is told in JOHN 9. It was through the obedience of faith that he came seeing. Then he comes to stand before the wonder of grace that was performed in him, and the Pharisees put him out of the synagogue. They cast him out. Yet there are those who are reasoning and saying, "Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?" Do you see the state of confusion that this brings in human reasoning?
The resistance Jesus had from the blind leaders of the blind was no coincidence. It didnt just happen. It was foretold in the prophecies. Look at ISA 8:14-15, "And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken."
This was prophesied. They did not hear His voice. They said to those who were hearing His voice, "Why hear ye him?" In their own human reasoning, they said, "He hath a devil, and is mad." What Jesus is saying comes against human logic. It is not reasonable to human thinking. This was the spirit of the scribes and the Pharisees that we see in Matthew 6. They loved to be in the upper rooms. They loved to stand praying so that they could be seen of men. They loved to be glorified by man. Jesus was talking about a doctrine of self-humiliation, of voluntarily stepping into death, voluntarily giving His life and taking it again; this didnt add up in their human reasoning.
Neither is the servant greater than their Master is. You and I are going to have strife when we come with the truth. They are going to ask, "Why do you hear him?" They dont agree with you. Just as He tasted death for us, so we will fellowship in His reproach. The reproach that He bore for us is going to be our reproach.
Now look at MAT 10:34-35, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." Those are powerful words.
Once, I was laying prostrate on the ground with my face in the dirt begging the Lord to give me to understand why this was all coming against me. Then the Lord gave me that passage of Scripture. Then, I could take my eye off those who were persecuting me. I could see it is just like an ax laying at the root of a tree. It will never touch that tree. It is the hand that moves the ax. I could see that these were only instruments in the hand of God to chop me down to where the Lord wanted me.
Verse 35 continues, "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."
That comes so close to home. I am going to tell you why that is. Take David, for example. David could have sent an army to destroy a stranger if he had done something wrong, but what is he going to do when it was one of his own children? When it was his own son who raped his own daughter. When it was his own son who murdered his own son. What is David going to do when it is his own son who has gathered all Israel together to come against him and to slay him?
He gave a command to the general of the army in 2SA 18:12 "Beware that none touch the young man Absalom." When it comes that close to home, then the Lord puts His finger on a soft spot. Now we start understanding what the Lord Jesus went through. It was His own children who were against Him. It was His own children who nailed Him to the cross. It was those whom He came to die for. It was those whom He came to redeem who nailed Him to the cross. And now we learn to see a little bit of that. We learn to fellowship in the sufferings of Christ, and to come a little closer to home. We start to see where it says a mans son shall be against his own father, and the daughter against the mother, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law, and a mans foes shall be those of his own household.
From our side in human reasoning this is a profound mystery. It seems it would be so easy for the Almighty to persuade the hearts of our loved ones to be at peace with us. It just seems like it is so against reason. Why would the Lord send our own household to be our own foes?
Verses 37-38 continue, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." We are going to fellowship in His reproach. We are going to fellowship in His sufferings. We are going to taste what it was that He tasted for us just as He could have subdued the hearts of those proud, hypocritical Pharisees, but God had so decreed that it should be.
ACT 2:22-23 says, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."
The apostle is talking to those who came He is talking to those for whom Christ died. The "determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" delivered Jesus. In other words, God had determined that it should be. God had so decreed, and now, "Therefore doth my Father love me," Why? "because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."
Jesus volunteered to submit to the perfect will of the Father, by that perfect decree, that determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. He to allowed them to crucify Him. Who? To allow you and me, by wicked hands to crucify and slay the Lord of life and glory. It was our sins that hanged Him on the tree.
ACT 2:24 continues, "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." That is so precious when we have a right understanding of what Jesus says in our text. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." JOH 10:17-18.
We see the great ado in all these scribes, Pharisees, chief priests, and the big multitude that they brought together crying, Crucify Him, crucify Him. Pilate pronounced the death sentence upon Him, and then Roman soldiers came there with all their pomp and all their power. Did they take Jesus with all their power?
No. Jesus said, "No man taketh it from me." He voluntarily submitted Himself to these wicked hands. Do you know why? He died for us, that is, in our place. He died that we might live. He voluntarily took what you and I deserve that we might be able to again be reconciled with God. We might again be able to be brought to sit upon His throne with Him and be brought back into perfect harmony and reconciliation with the Father. Jesus Christ voluntarily took what we deserve that our redemption from iniquity might be accomplished and we might be saved from sin. Therein it was by His resurrection, by His taking His life again, that He gained the victory over death; that is how we are delivered from the pangs of death, not only of physical death, but also of spiritual death. Amen.
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