“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 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.” When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
One of my favorite movies is “The Passion Of The Christ” and my favorite scene is when they’re crucifing Jesus, instead of being drug to be nailed the cross, Actor Jim Caviezel, playing Jesus, crawls over and stretches out on the cross.
Jesus says here “Father loves me because I sacrifice my life” (vs 17) just like He’d said earlier (vs11, 15). Here, Jesus emphasizes, “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” (vs 18).
Jesus was not a helpless victim of the Roman government. He wasn’t arrested, charged and executed for a heinous crime. No, He the Designer and Creator of the universe, Who was with God from the beginning of time (John 1:1-4)! He was God in human form (1:14)! As God in human flesh He pocessed all the power and authority of God Almighty, yet with all of the frailties of living in a human body, except without sin (because He chose NOT to sin-not because He wasn’t tempted like we are). So, because he was God, no one took his life from him – just like in the movie he willingly laid his life down!
He also says here that because he laid it down and had the authority to do so, that he would also take it up again – indicating that He would rise from the dead!
Finally, John ends this paragraph – this passage in his book with a commentary on how the people were receiving Jesus. It was pretty much all or nothing with this Hebrew crowd! The naysayers said about Jesus “why would you listen to Him– He’s demon possessed! Now that’s pretty harsh! The Jesus supporters said how can a guy who’s demon possessed cause the blind to see? He’s obviously from God!
Consequently, vs 19 says that the people were divided in what they believed about Jesus.
Its really important that we realize that Jesus didn’t HAVE to die for us-He CHOSE to! He didn’t have to live a sinless life-He CHOSE to! He didn’t have to extend God’s grace to us-He CHOSE to. He didn’t have to choose us to be His followers– He CHOSE to!
Maybe its time for us to choose Him today?!?
Think about it!