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lay it down

14 Sep

160914The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” (John 10:10-18, NRSV)

Only the shepherd will give up his life for the sheep. The hired hand will run away when the wolves come because they don’t make enough to risk their lives for the sheep, but the shepherd will give everything for what is his. And Jesus knows all of His sheep by name and looks. He knows each of us and we know Him.

And Jesus lays down His life of His own choice. No one makes Him do it, He does it on His own. If He wanted to climb down off the cross He could have, but He didn’t. He died for His sheep. He died for you.

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