I Lay Down My Life
31 August 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: John 10:17-21 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” 19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” (John 10:17-21 NLT)
No one could take Jesus’ life from him. He gave his life. As the Good Shepherd, he laid down his life for the sheep. As the Lamb of God, he laid down his life for everyone in the world, in all generations, for all eternity.
The Jewish leaders were blinded by their prejudice. They lost the ability to see the Truth standing right before them. They lost the ability to reason as they saw God’s miraculous power demonstrated before their eyes. Prejudice means to “pre-judge.” To judge before the evidence is given and to maintain that judgment in spite of the evidence. I have never seen this more clearly than this past few months as we’ve journeyed daily through Matthew’s Gospel and now through John’s Gospel. The most “moral” of the Jews, the strictest law-keepers, the teachers of religious law were willfully blind to God in their midst because they wouldn’t see and willfully ignorant of the truth because they wouldn’t hear.
This has become my greatest concern for the church, for Christians in our world, and for my nation! I see the same kind of willful blindness and intentional ignorance developing and I don’t know what to do about it! We’re becoming polarized around prejudicial attitudes and politicized around party ideologies. People are talking in declarative sound bites. No one is listening to any opinion that doesn’t agree with their own. That’s not how the Church has found her way from the day of Pentecost to today. And that’s not how democracy works in a nation or in the world. Constructive dialog has been sacrificed on the altar of the need to be right and for everyone else to be wrong. It’s time to listen to each other and it’s time to see the Truth in Jesus!
Father, Thank you for your Word and your Spirit. Please give us grace to hear and to see and to love each other and serve one another. We need help soon! Will you do what you can to help us? In Jesus’ Name and for the Kingdom’s sake. Amen!