Lent devotions 2011: Thursday 14 April

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may 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 I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. John 10:17-18

Well into Lent and its progress toward Good Friday and Easter, this chapter tells one of our favourite stories of Jesus: of His being the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep – not just Jewish believers in Him but us Gentiles too.

His life and actions are so willingly and completely attuned to the Father’s will that all may be saved [v.16], that He is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in giving up His life in our stead. Such is the nature of His selfless love that He does this entirely voluntarily.

With God-given power and ability He bears the suffering for our sins in the cruellest of deaths, to rise again victorious over the power of sin and death.

This is the sweetest news to us, for He promises, “whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who believes in Me shall never die”. Wow!

Thank You Lord, for this extraordinary gift. Amen.