“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 ESV)
Jesus, as our good shepherd, laid down His life for us—and did so on His own accord (v. 18). Though flogged and crucified by Roman soldiers, He ultimately died because He chose to give up His life for His sheep, the church.
There are a few aspects of this truth that we should all meditate on.
He laid down His life personally. His sacrifice wasn’t a general sacrifice, but a personal one. In other words, Jesus took names to the cross. If you’re in Christ, He took your name there, too. When He died, He paid for all the sins you’d ever commit.
He did so actually. When Jesus died, He wasn’t merely making salvation available, but was actually obtaining it for His sheep, those whom the Father gave Him. In one sense, we were saved the moment Jesus died on the cross. Of course, we had the real responsibility to repent and believe, but Jesus paid for our sins in actuality on the across. Marvel at that!
He did so lovingly. Jesus loves you. Again, this is not some Hallmark-type love—a love that is flimsy and fickle. Jesus loves us, His friends—those whom He purchased with His blood—with a covenantal love. He laid down His life out of love for His Father’s glory and His love for His sheep.