The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh 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 commandment have I received of my Father. 19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? 22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:17-38)
It was not the power of man that nailed our Lord to the cross, but the love of God compelled Him there. Not only did He lay down His life that He might take it up it up again, but the greater question is “Why?” He did not need to lay down His life for personal consideration; but He laid down His life to take it up again so that we may do the same. Had He not done so, we would have not standing with God – and there would be not resurrection of the dead at all.
“I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” Two crystal questions are enshrined in this statement: 1) why did Christ lay down His Life? and 2) why did He take it up again? He lay down His life as a propitiation for our sins. The wages of sin is death and all have sinned and come short of the righteousness of God. We all deserve the wages of sin, but Christ paid our ransom from it. Our souls have redeemed from that death. He took His life again by rising from the Tomb to seal the salvation unto life of His Elect. Had Christ not risen, our hope would be forlorn. He is our Ark of Salvation and we, being safe in Christ, are safe from the devastation which is to come and the eternal fires that will engulf this world system.
Spurred on by their unbelieving manmade religion of the Jews, these hypocrites tried to press Christ so that they may ruin Him. But Christ responds with words which we must heed today! “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” It is of paramount importance that we be accounted the sheep of His fold. We will hear His voice and He will KNOW us. We will always follow our Shepherd who has chosen us at great price, but those who are not His will not hear His Voice. There is eternal security in Christ for His Chosen and Elect people. Christ will lose none which the Father has placed in His hand – neither by fire, sword, or peril of death. Christ is One with the Father (they are of the same nature and substance) and we, too, must be One with Christ and, consequently, with the Father. We must never try to justify those whom Christ has not justified! We must not allow others to come into the fold by some other way.
“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” This is the answer of all faiths which cannot stand on the merit of truth. Kill the messenger. Murder all who disagree, then, perhaps, the remnant will be terrified into submission to a lie.
“Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?” This will prove that righteousness is not the goal of false religions. Christ healed and restored life. This, none of the scoundrels of His accusers could do. But they worried about the prestige He was gathering among the people. He was a threat to their neat, little empire of hate and rule by oppression and hypocrisy. So, “let us stone Him!” When you have no truth on your side, resort to assassination and murder.
“Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” These perverse religionists would slay Christ because of whom He claimed to be. They thought they had a mastery of Scripture, but they prove that they had no understanding of what little light had been given them and else, more seriously, they knew and chose not to believe. Never believe that ‘good works’ for a Christian are not important. Though they do not initially save, they are evidence of our life in Christ. If these men cannot believe the words of Christ, at least may they believe the evidence of His Works? I profess Christ as my Lord and Savior. Many others do the same. Does my life give evidence of my profession? Do men look upon my daily living and believe that I am truly a follower of Christ? If not, perhaps my evidence of good works in Christ is missing. Those works of mine which are evil, I can claim as my own; but those works that are righteous and good I can lay no claim on whatsoever for these are the works of Christ IN me. I can do no good of my own volition – only through the efficacious working of the Holy Spirit.
When men know you well, do they also see Christ well in you?