4/18 John 10:17-18

17 "For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 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."

Jesus was not caught off guard and then captured and executed. He laid down His life. He demonstrated this in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said, "I am," and all the soldiers fell backward (John 18:6). He declared it when He said that He could call twelve legions of angels to deliver Him (Matthew 26:53). Jesus chose to remain in the Garden of Gethsemane as the soldiers with their torches crossed the Kidron Valley in plain view. Jesus chose to obey the Father and drink the cup of wrath that we deserve due to our sins.

Jesus deliberately chose to go to the cross and pay our ransom (Matthew 20:28). Like a faithful shepherd guarding his sheep against a lion, Jesus stood between us and our accuser and said He would take our guilt and the penalty it deserved, which was death. The sins of all people past, present, and future, from Adam to you and me and beyond, came pouring through time and space to be heaped upon Jesus. Then came the wrath of God upon those sins during those three hours of darkness that enshrouded the cross (Matthew 27:45). Finally, it was finished.

Jesus was dead, but He had the authority to take up His life again. His body was dead, but His Spirit went and preached to the souls in prison and took the keys of death and hell (1 Peter 3:19; Revelation 1:18). On Sunday morning He did take His life up again and burst forth from the tomb in which His body had lain. No one ever before or since had the authority to raise himself or herself from the dead. He rose to display an irrefutable sign that death was defeated (Matthew 12:39) and that those who place their trust in Him would be raised as well (John 6:40).

Consider: We have seen that the words of Jesus in the mouth of anyone else would sound like insanity. Think about our verse for today. Who would dare say that but the very Son of God? Who else could carry it out but Him? "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love" John 15:9 (NIV).