The Divine Authority to Rise from the Dead
Primary Truth Taught- Divine authority was given to Jesus by His Father to lay down His life and to take it up again
I want to make something abundantly clear. In the passage before us, Jesus uses imagery to explain the relationship between The Pharisees, Himself and His people. He calls the Pharisees the thieves and hirelings, Himself the Good Shepherd and calls His people the sheep.
The chapter before this gives us the account of Jesus healing the man born blind. It shows how the Pharisees reacted. Instead of rejoicing with him because he was blind and now he could see, they sought to kick him out of the temple courts. While the Pharisees were supposed to be the shepherds of Israel, caring for the sheep, they proved to be evil and wicked shepherds who only sought their own gain. They were the Ezekiel 34 shepherds God condemns.
We’ll also see the fact that Jesus is the Good Shepherd or most accurately the Shepherd sent by God to tend His flock.
He makes the point that within the sheepfold are many sheep but there are some within the larger group who hear His voice and follow Him because they know Him and He knows them. These are the called ones plucked from the larger fold. These are those called from the entire population of humanity to be His followers. These are His sheep, these are the ones He saves, these are the ones He dies for and these are the ones He rises from the grave for.
Jesus teaches in John 10 first, about the difference between the Shepherd and a thief. He makes the point that the shepherd enters the sheepfold through the gate because He accesses the sheep in love and care. whereas a thief, seeking to go undetected, enters by a more secretive and deceptive way. He teaches that when the shepherd accesses the fold through the gate, all he has to do is call them out from among all the sheep and those that belong to Him, recognize His voice, and come to Him.
Jesus also teaches in the first part of John 10 that the shepherd walks back out the gate and His sheep follow because they know Him and know His voice. He then makes the point that the sheep will not follow a stranger but only their own shepherd.
This principle works both ways. Jesus’ sheep follow Him but none of the other sheep follow Him, only those whom He has called, only the ones He’s spoken to and have heard His voice. The sheep belong to the shepherd. He leads them to green pasture and still waters. The shepherd loves His sheep and they love Him. Not so with a stranger, however. They won’t follow him. The same is true for the thief. The thief, the one who enters by sneaking over the fence in the dark of night, doesn’t love the sheep but simply wants to make a quick buck while caring nothing for the sheep.
Jesus teaches the difference between the Shepherd and the thief. The Shepherd loves the sheep and the thief uses the sheep.
The second comparison brings us to the sermon text that is the comparison between the Good Shepherd and the hired hand. The Good Shepherd not only loves the sheep but also is willing to lay His life down for them while the hired hand, who doesn’t own the sheep, flees at the first sign of danger.
Now in teaching this monumental truth, Jesus explains why it is that He would lay His life down for His sheep.
Please stand together in honor of God’s Word. I pray that God would give us ears to hear as Jesus often said let those who have ears, let them hear…
John 10:11–18 (ESV)
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 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.”
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
The imagery Jesus uses is of a wolf that comes seeking to destroy the sheep. In the case of the hireling, the sheep die because he will not stand his ground to defend them. The first sign of trouble he runs away as fast as he can.
This same imagery is often used for pastors and leaders of Israel. Often the leaders of Israel were called worthless shepherds because they cared more about themselves than they did the people God had called them to protect and care for.
Ezekiel 34:3–10 (ESV)
3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
The reality Jesus wants us to see is the difference between thieves, hired hands and Him. They care nothing for the sheep. The thief wants to make a quick buck or get a free meal, the hired hand has nothing invested so why should he risk his life? But Jesus is different; He loves us and died to save us. He is no thief nor is He a hireling.
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
Repeatedly in this Chapter Jesus tells us of mutual recognition between He, the Good Shepherd and His people or here, His sheep. The reality is that the Good Shepherd knows His sheep and they know Him.
The strength of the bond between Jesus and His followers is compared to the intimacy and strength of the bond between The Son and the Father…
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father
I want us to draw a very true conclusion. The love that the Trinity has within itself, namely, the love the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit share for each other is the degree in which the Son of God loves His people or to take the story, the love the Good Shepherd has for His sheep.
Church, if you are a follower of the Good Shepherd He loves you beyond measure and the closest example we have in all the universe to picture this great love is God the Father’s love for His Son. If you’re a Christian today, God loves you that much.
Because of this great love, we can begin to see why Jesus would lay down His life to protect and save His sheep.
Perhaps there are people in your life you would lay your life down to save and protect, perhaps your wife or children. This love is pictured in a mother’s love for her child. She would give her life for her child.
Now Jesus tells us something else that should excite faith in us particularly.
16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
First, He speaks about a sheep pen where He, as the Good Shepherd, calls out to His sheep and they follow. This original sheep pen was Israel in the day of Christ. The sheep that didn’t follow were the unbelieving Jews.
So the sheep that are not part of this group but that He will acquire later are the Gentiles, which include us. We are those He would also call and we, as Christians, hear His voice and follow Him. Someday, Jesus will have one fold of sheep made up of all His followers throughout history.
I hope we’re getting the logic of Jesus here…what He is telling us is that when sin enters like a wolf, it comes to kill and destroy. Here’s where Jesus’ lesson breaks down as it were. A shepherd can fight off a wolf and protect the sheep. David recounts times when he, as a shepherd fought off bears and lions.
1 Samuel 17:34–36 (ESV)
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”
In this case, David fought off predators and he and the sheep lived. However, when it comes to sin someone must die. The Bible tells us the wages of sin is death.
David was a good shepherd but Jesus is the Good Shepherd. His sheep, the ones who know Him and He knows them, they’ve been attacked by a predator much greater than a wolf or a lion. Sin had Jesus’ sheep in its grip. When is comes to sin, either the sheep die or the Shepherd dies.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 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.”
God the Father and God the Son love each other with a divine perfect love. The very love they have for each other, they also have for Jesus’ followers.
John 15:9–10 (ESV)
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
It is this great love the Jesus has first for the Father that drove Him to the cross. It was the Father’s divine will that Jesus would go and die for a wicked and lost people, making them partakers not of divine wrath but divine grace. Notice how Jesus’ death had the resurrection in view. His death also proved His supreme devotion to His heavenly Father.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
This is very important, let’s hear what one theologian wrote….
The love the Father has for His Son is eternally linked with the unqualified obedience of the Son to the Father, this utter dependence upon Him: willingness to bear the shame and ignominy of Golgotha, the isolation and rejection of death, the sin and curse reserved for the Lamb of God
God the Father loves the Son with a great and eternal love and now, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, He loves us with the same love. Someone had to die…either we die and God’s wrath is poured out on us for eternity because we have sinned against an eternal God or the sinless Son of God could die and He was the only One who when He died could take up His life again. Death could not hold our Lord because it had no claim on Him.
Because the Father gave Jesus the authority over death, He rose from the dead after three days. So, in God’s mind, The death and resurrection of His Son was worth it because that event would save a multitude of people from God’s just judgment. Now, not only is Christ alive and well but also so are all His followers. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus we can glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
So, our Lord’s death is a hero’s death. The resurrection is a hero’s resurrection. What a great thing Jesus did for His sheep. He died because He knew if we died for our sin, death would have claimed another soul for eternity. He knew that his death would just last 3 days. He knew that by dying, He would be assimilating a multitude of followers for Himself. We praise His name for loving the Father and loving us with an eternal love.
As we realize the dynamic of the death and resurrection of Christ we must come to grips with the truth that while the crucifixion was carried out by sinners…namely the Jews and the Romans it was God the Father working behind the scene to bring this great act of obedience to come to pass. The Father was at work in history while the Son was at work in the immediate setting. The Father was arranging the players; Jesus was arranging the immediate events.
The early church understood who was ultimately responsible for Jesus’ death…God was!!!
Acts 4:27–28 (ESV)
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
God the Father and God the Son had made a covenant together in eternity past that when mankind sinned the Son would go and redeem many of Adam’s fallen race.
I pray that we see the cross and the resurrection were both planned and accomplished by God. The Father and the Son, because of the perfect love they share for each other also manifests perfect obedience and agreement.
That’s exactly why Jesus said, 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. Jesus’ death was voluntary. No one took His life. At any moment He could has stopped it.
Matthew 26:53–54 (ESV)
53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
So, in order for the Good Shepherd to defeat sin, He becomes one of the sheep. At the incarnation the Son of God took on a human body so that He could become one of the sheep. That’s why John the Baptist exclaimed; Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!!!
Jesus laid down His life at His own accord. Because His life was free from sin, He had the authority to take it up again. The resurrection happened because Jesus is sinless and God gave Him authority over death.
Jesus’ divine authority over death, which includes His death, came from the love the Father has for Him and the love He has for the Father.
While it was the Trinity that endorsed and carried out the death of Jesus, it was also the power and authority of the Trinity that raised Jesus from the dead.
John 10:18 (ESV)
18 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 2:19 (ESV)
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
Romans 6:4 (ESV)
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 8:11 (ESV)
11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Jesus obeyed the will of His Father because within the Trinity is perfect unity and perfect love. Jesus told us in this passage that His love for us can be compared to the great love He shares with His Father. The way He showed His love was to obey His Father’s will.
Is Jesus calling you as one of His sheep to come out from the world to follow Him? Perhaps you’re not a follower of Christ but you sense in some strange way He’s calling you. The Bible is clear when it says that today is the day of salvation. Don’t put it off but follow Jesus right now.
Maybe you are already a follower. You know for sure that Jesus has called you. This passage reminds us to chase hard after the Good Shepherd. Remember, He’s not like the evil shepherds of Israel, He’s not a thief or a hired hand. The Good Shepherd laid His life down for His followers. He had the power and authority to lay it down and the power to take it up again. Certainly we can follow a Shepherd like Jesus.
Are you a follower? How closely are you following the One who gave His life to save you from your sin? How closely are you following the One who has called you personally from out of the sheep pen? How closely are you following the Shepherd who burst forth from the grave because death had no claim on Him. For all who are in Christ, who are His followers, death has no claim over you either.
Declaration of Grace
In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
 Gospel of John by D A Carson 388