Summary: Jesus discusses important matters that are given but not taken especially His own life.
Jesus, the God Man: The Gospel of John
“Given, Not Taken”
Introduction: I like to use coupons to save money especially when eating out or for lodging. Businesses give coupons all the time, but not all are used. I found two such coupons in my wallet this week and started to throw them out, but then I thought they would be useful as an illustration. I missed a short stack of pancakes at IHOP and a chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A because they were given but not taken. These are now expired and useless.
In our text Jesus also discusses important matters that involve giving and taking. He already indicated that as the good Shepherd he gives for the sheep, but does not take from them unlike the Pharisees that acted more like thieves and robbers or hirelings than shepherds. He also briefly mentioned that He gives His life for the sheep. He will go into more detail in these next verses and will help us to understand that many times something is “given, not taken.”
1. Jesus gave His life, it was not taken.
“Therefore” – Because I lay my life down willingly for the sheep of various folds My Father loves me. This is not conditional love. It is agape. God already loves the Son and His obedience demonstrates His love for God.
“Lay down” – Willingly gave His life. Notice that He speaks of it as having already happened even though that will not occur for 6 months!
“Take it back” – He gave it knowing He could take it back again.
v. 18 – “No one take it…” Do not miss the fact that Jesus says He lays down His life. It will not be and was not taken from Him. He did not get caught in a tragic set of circumstances; it was not random violence that He could not escape, not by accident or suicide.
“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
Matthew 26:53 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” John 19:11a (NIV)
“I lay it down” – Jesus is eternal God unless He gives His life it will NOT be taken. His life is His own.
“power to take it up again” - Many can make the first statement and have given their lives for God, family, friends, country, etc but NO ONE can say the last part. Only God has the power to give life and Jesus shared in His own resurrection!
Jesus died knowing the resurrection was going to come! That was all part of the plan from the beginning. Jesus rarely spoke of His death without also speaking of His resurrection!
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” John 2:19 (NIV)
Remember how often John has said it was not His time? In the right time He would die and be resurrected!
“command received from Father” – Love and obedience are connected. Jesus loves His father and loves us and so He is obedient unto death.
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39 (NIV)
When you love, you obey. Jesus loves so He obeyed. If you love, you will obey.
2. Most will reject Jesus. (vv. 19-20)
“Therefore” – Because of this there is a division. This is unchanged even today over 2,000 years later!
There is always division around Jesus. By His very nature He brings division because He comes speaking in absolute terms and our human nature is sinful and rebels against absolutes because it reminds us we are not in charge, but God is!
Jesus comes and destroys that which divides believers, but the difference between the lost and the saved, believers and unbelievers, or light and dark is very stark and obvious.
“Because of His sayings” – What He says divides people. There are some that hear and recoil in anger and hostility and others that respond in worship, adoration and belief.
I would say of all Scripture John 14:6 divides quicker than any other and they are direct words of Jesus.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (NIV)
His gift has been given, but not taken.
v. 20 – MANY say He is demon possessed and is a lunatic. He is stark raving mad! These are not exclusive. They thought demon possession caused insanity.
Demonstrating their own lack of depth for their arguments they have again been reduced to name-calling.