17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father.”
The willingness of the Shepherd to give His life for the sheep brings further explanation of its eternal design in verses 17 and 18. The relationship between the Father and Son in eternity evoked the reason Christ came to die and rise again. We see here a model of their eternal relationship (Jn 10:15).
The cause of Jesus giving His life for the sheep rested on the Father’s love for Him and His love for the Father.
My Father loves Me,
The Father loved Jesus for His willingness to give His life for the sheep. The purpose of Jesus coming was not to gain the Father’s approval. The Father’s love for the Son was antecedent to Jesus coming to the earth.
because I lay down My life
Jesus indicated four times in this chapter (Jn 10:11, 14, 17-18) that He would lay down His life.
that [purpose] I may take it again.
“Take it again” is a reference to the resurrection (cf. v. 18). The death of Christ was not an end; He died in order to rise again. The resurrection was not something that just happened to occur; it was as necessary as the crucifixion.
No one takes it from Me,
Jesus has authority over His own life and destiny. He gave His life voluntarily (Acts 4:27-28). Jesus was never at the point of powerlessness about what happened to His life. He could have avoided the cross if He chose.
but I lay it down of Myself.
The Son’s great love for the Father took Him to the death on a cross. The sacrifice of Jesus for our sin was a volitional one.
I have power [authority] to lay it down,
Jesus had the authority to lay down His life or retain it at will. No other human being had the right to lay down his life and take it back again.
and I have power to take it again.
The taking back of Jesus’ life in the resurrection was necessary for the effects of His death to produce the results He intended. There is no division between the death and resurrection of Jesus; they exist in perfect unity.
This command I have received from My Father.”
The command to lay down the life of Christ and raise it again came from the Father. There was no other option than for Jesus to die for sins of man.
Christ’s death and resurrection was in the eternal plan of God.
No part of the death and resurrection of Christ took place without God’s plan for creation. There was nothing accidental about the crucifixion of Christ. It was in the Father’s plan from eternity. Both the Father and the Son were one in this plan.
As humans look at the death of Christ, they view it as something executed by Roman and Jewish authorities. As God looks at it, it is something planned from eternity.
The death of Jesus was not accidental. His crucifixion was not an arbitrary accident in history. Neither was He a powerless pawn in the course of events. The Father designed His death to pay for the sins of people from eternity.
The Antitype always transcends the type. Jesus went beyond the shepherd who risks his life. The difference is that Jesus voluntarily sacrificed His life to save the sheep. No ordinary shepherd has ever done that.