On Good Friday, Roman authorities forced Jesus to carry his cross to Golgotha, where soldiers nailed him to the cross to die. On that day, it looked like Love had been conquered by hatred and death.
The gospel of John has another way of seeing the crucifixion, though. Throughout this gospel, we are reminded that Jesus is always in control of events – even when things look their worst.
Today’s passage, which comes nine chapters before John’s recounting of the crucifixion, shares that message. Jesus assures his disciples that he gives up his life willingly: “No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to,” he says. Jesus is in control!
Our Good Shepherd loves us, searches for us, and gladly lays down his life for us. He is not forced to do this; he does it out of love for us. How blessed we are to have this love!
Jane Claspy Nesmith
Jesus, how can we thank you for laying down your life for us? Make us mindful of your all-giving love. May seeing your glory and power give us strength and faith to follow you. Amen.
Go, knowing that the good shepherd is with you
In grassy meadows,
Beside restful waters,
Through shadowy dark valleys.
Go, knowing that the good shepherd, Jesus Christ,
Claims you as his own.