I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.John 10:11 (NLT)
Nearly 2,000 years ago, the skies turned black, there was a mighty earthquake, and all of creation cried out as the Savior of the world bowed His head on the cross and released His last breath. Jesus’ body hung lifeless on the cross. There were no more words of love and encouragement flowing from His mouth. His hands, still nailed to a wooden cross, could not reach out and provide healing, or even embrace in a comforting hug. His body was wrecked with scars from a beating that no person should endure. His side was pierced with a spear for good measure, just to make sure He was dead. Jesus, the “Good Shepherd” lay lifeless.
In His final act as a human, Jesus laid down His life in our place. Let that one sink in for a moment. Jesus took the punishment that we deserved (Make no mistake, we all deserve it) and took it upon Himself. If the penalty of sin is death, then the billions of sins ever committed, and still being committed, carried infinite death sentences for you and me. We deserve death millions of times over each. Yet, there Jesus hung. He laid down His life for us. We didn’t deserve it. In fact, we still don’t deserve it.
So, why did He do it? In a word: Love.
It wasn’t the nails that kept Jesus on the cross. He could have called down mighty warrior angels from Heaven, and they would have rescued Him. He could have simply stepped off the cross and healed His own wounds. He could have called upon His followers to revolt and save Him. But, He didn’t do any of it. He knew that if He came down, all hope of salvation, all hope of redemption, all hope of eternity would be lost for you and me.
As Jesus hung on the cross, He had a decision to make. He could save Himself, and lose all of humanity in the process. Or, He could sacrifice Himself and save humanity.
Picture it this way, as He hung on the cross He thought of you. In agony, He saw you, your face, He knew your name, and He had to decide whether He would choose to die for you. When He thought of you, He thought “You’re worth it. I love you more than life itself.” He died for you – not on your best day – He died for you, as you are now. The Good Shepherd laid down His life so that you may receive the gift of eternity with Him. To Him, you are worth it.