“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to 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 authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” – John 10:17-18
Jesus Christ, in His intimate oneness and love relationship with the Father, knows that the love between them is based, is reasoned, on an absolute trust in each other and an absolute willingness of the Son to follow and obey whatever is the Father’s will. No matter what the cost. Because this love they share is inexplicably more perfect, more transcendent and more eternal than my imagination can even begin to grasp. Jesus fully and humbly obeys His Father, laying down His life. And Jesus fully and victoriously obeys His Father, taking His life up again!
It is the passionate love of the Father that commands Jesus, His beloved Son, to do this. It is the passionate love of the Father for His lost and dying sheep that commands the death and the resurrection of His one and only Son, so that unity will be restored and reconciled between mankind and the holy, righteous God, the Lord of all creation.
Here we get a glimpse of the holy, inseparable unity of Father and Son as the One True God. Even as Jesus obeys the command He received from His Father, He also declares that he has the authority to lay down His life and the authority to take it up again. In these words Jesus declares Himself as one with the Father – in both sovereign authority and amazing, sacrificial love for His lost and dying sheep. A mind-altering, perception-changing, paradigm shift for all who would grasp the words Jesus speaks. Jesus, the Son, is God in human form. Separate, yet in complete unity with the Father’s eternal authority and love.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. – Colossians 1:15-20
The Father’s full love for His Son always was, is and will be unconditional and intimate beyond comprehension. The Father and the Son are one. Yet, it is through the interweaving of the Son’s obedience to the Father’s command – through the outrageous sacrifice Jesus made and the ultimate victory Jesus accomplished – that the love relationship between the Father and the Son, and their love for us, is magnificently revealed. And we, the sheep of the Lord Most High, are the benefactors of this benevolent, unconditional, intimate and eternal love.
May we, like our Lord Jesus Christ, choose full obedience to our Father’s commands and know His love ever more intimately, passionately and powerfully in our own lives! Amen!