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. (John 10: 17-18 KJV)
Jesus’s incarnation is the turning point in man’s relationship with God. Living under the law for generations had failed to absolve mankind of sin and guilt. It would take a daring rescue mission to bring about the sort of change God had in mind. Since, by definition, God is unchangeable, he couldn’t bend the rules. But he could, through a show of infinite love for man, create a path and light the way to restoration of the intimate relationship man enjoyed with God before the fall.
What God couldn’t bring himself to require of Abraham with his knife poised over Isaac on the sacrificial altar, he would require of himself. At Calvary he offered his only son, Jesus, as a suitable sacrifice in absolute proof he was withholding nothing for the sake of saving mankind. He could have intervened at any time and called the whole thing off, as he did in Isaac’s case. Instead, he did the unthinkable. He turned his back on our Lord, forsaking him, allowing him to die a sinner’s death.
In John 10 we have a candid prediction of the events to unfold, told from Jesus’s perspective. Related during the winter prior to the crucifixion centered around Passover in the spring that followed, it indicates that he came to earth fully knowing of the grisly, martyr’s death which awaited him. Yet, despite this knowledge, he laid down his life of his own accord. As much as the Roman authorities and Jewish temple hierarchy would have liked to believe they engineered the crucifixion, the decision was part of a mandate from his father, predicated on his agreement to see it through. The full import of it being God’s will and that Jesus understood ahead of time what that entailed is seen in this verse taken from his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane just before the soldiers came to arrest him:
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless
not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39 KJV)
This story doesn’t end at Golgotha the way the forces of evil intended for it to. In fact, it is a story without an end as God intended. Jesus said he had the power to take up his life again, just as he had the power to lay it down. He kept his word. Not only did he awaken on Easter morning to eternal life, he extended the privilege to all who follow him.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10: 27-28 KJV).
In this remarkable way God was able to salvage a remnant of the creation in which he takes the greatest pride and in so doing set the stage for the restoration of the balance he so desires.
Blessed Father, We praise you for paving the way for us to reunite with you and your Blessed Son, Jesus.