They were choked that He made mud on the Sabbath. Never mind that with that mud He made a man born blind to see, the fact that He spat on the ground and made mud on the Sabbath was enough for them to conclude, “This man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath” (Jn. 9:13-16a). He was a Sabbath working mud-maker — that much they knew. He was also a sight-giving miracle-worker — that they wouldn’t acknowledge. But as Jesus would tell these blind, seeing men, making spit-mud was just a drop in an ocean of grace when compared with what the Good Shepherd planned to do for His sheep.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
(John 10:10b-11 ESV)
Five times in eight verses Jesus says He lays down His life for the sheep. It is the number one duty of the Good Shepherd. Before He makes them lie down in green pastures or can lead them by still waters; before He can restore their souls or lead them in paths of righteousness; before He drives out the fear of death and comforts them with His rod and staff; the Lord, my Shepherd (Ps. 23) — the Lord, the Good Shepherd — lays down His life for the sheep.
Chew on that again as if for the first time.
If we are part of the flock it is because the Shepherd gave His life for us. Stop there.
I can get so wrapped up in so many other really good and needful things like walking the walk, seeking the kingdom, and being on mission, that sometimes I fail to sit in quiet awe and wonder afresh that Jesus gave His life for sinners. That the Father gave His one and only Son so that lost sheep might be rescued. That Jesus died so that I might have life and have it abundantly.
Christianity 101, I know. But it will be our only plea for eternity, that the Good Shepherd laid down His life for broken, lost, rebellious, wayward sheep like us.
I am the good shepherd. I know My own and My own know me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. . . For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord.
(John 10:14-15, 17-18a ESV)
Praise God! What a good shepherd!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Such amazing grace!
To Him be all glory!