I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14–15
John Harper had no idea what was about to unfold as he and his six-year-old daughter embarked on the Titanic. But one thing he knew: he loved Jesus and he was passionate that others know Him too. As soon as the ship hit an iceberg and water started pouring in, Harper, a widower, put his little girl on a lifeboat and headed into the chaos to save as many people as possible. As he distributed life jackets he reportedly shouted, “Let the women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats.” Until his last breath, Harper shared about Jesus with anyone who was around him. John willingly gave his life away so others could live.
There was One who laid down His life freely two thousand years ago so you and I can live not only in this life but for all eternity. Jesus didn’t just wake up one day and decide He would pay the penalty of death for humanity’s sin. This was His life’s mission. At one point when He was talking with the Jewish religious leaders He repeatedly acknowledged, “I lay down my life” (John 10:11, 15, 17, 18). He didn’t just say these words but lived them by actually dying a horrific death on the cross. He came so that the Pharisees, John Harper, and we “may have life, and have it to the full” (v. 10).
How do you reveal that you truly love those around you? How can you show Jesus’ love to someone through your actions today?
Jesus, there aren’t words grand enough to thank You for demonstrating the greatest act of love there is. Thank You for giving Your life away so I might live. Help me to show Your love to others no matter how much it costs me.
The gospel of John introduces Jesus as a lamb (John 1:29) before describing Him as a good shepherd (ch. 10). Finally, the great mystery of the Jewish Scriptures could be explained. Even now, without God’s help no one could connect the dots between a rabbi from Nazareth (1:45-46), David’s song of the good shepherd (Psalm 23), Isaiah’s vision of people who needed to be rescued by One led like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:6–7), and the prophet Ezekiel’s warning of shepherds who, in contrast to Jesus (John 10:14–15), were looking after themselves rather than their flocks (Ezekiel 34:1–2, 11–16).