Today’s full reading is John 10:1-21
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. This is the charge I have received from my Father.”
Jesus says the words ‘For this reason…’ when describing why it is that the Father loves the Son. I’ll be honest, these words jar in my mind. ‘For this reason?’ It sounds initially like Jesus is saying ‘this is the reason he loves me.’ which sounds like a love based on a job Jesus does. This is out of step with everything else Jesus has said about his father up until this point. So it can’t mean what I might initially think it means. In which case, what does it mean?
The thrust of the sentiment Jesus is conveying is more like: ‘this is what my Father loves about me…’ or maybe even ‘the reason for my Father’s love is because of how I trust him even to the point of laying my life down.’
The Father loves the Son and one of the main reasons for this love is because of the Son’s complete and utter trust in the Father. He is willing to obey him even when that obedience costs him his life. Who wouldn’t say ‘I love that about you?’ to someone who does that?
This is astonishing. The Son here shows a trust and obedience that means (in his case) death by crucifixion. Speaking, as he is here, a short time before his death, the Son clearly shows a single minded awareness of and compliance with his destiny.
He lays his life down because he loves the sheep, certainly; but also and most remarkably of all, he does it because he trusts his Father. Jesus was fully God, but he was also fully man. As a man he would quite likely have received his destiny to die simply from reading about it in the scrolls. He would have read Isaiah 53 and concluded ‘that’s me, that’s what I shall do and shall have done to me.’
Wonderful Jesus. Is it any wonder the Father is made up with delight over him? The Father loves the Son… and so do I!
The Son is glorious but the Father is utterly trustworthy. Jesus read about his destiny in the scrolls and didn’t deviate from it even though it would likely have been hard to do so. What is there in your life that you know the Father wants you to do? What habits is he asking you to give up? What people is telling you to love that you don’t want to?
Jesus trusted him because he is trustworthy. He hasn’t changed. You can still trust him today.
Father thank you for Jesus. Jesus thank you for the obedience to your Father’s plan you demonstrated. Holy Spirit please help me to trust my Father in the same way that Jesus did. I love you Father, I need you. I trust you. Amen.