The Works of

Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee

2 October

Jesus lays down and again takes up His life, for the sheep

John 10:15-17

‘”The Father knows Me…. I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep. And I have other sheep which are not of this fold. Them too I must bring…and there shall be one fold…. My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life — so that I might take it up again!”‘
John 10:15-17.

Calvin comments: “‘I know My sheep!’…. He commends His love towards us…. For knowledge is born of love, and is accompanied by care…. Christ…wants us to be obedient and devoted to Him, just as He wholly is to the Father….

“‘Other sheep I have’…. He was thinking of the calling of the Gentiles…. He called them ‘other sheep’…. They…were of a different kind…. Christ’s office as a Shepherd is not restricted to the confines of Judaea, but is far wider…. This passage…refers to the outward aspect of the Church — in that the Gentiles, who temporarily had been strangers, were afterwards taken into the Kingdom of God…. We are already sheep, before we are aware that He is our Shepherd….

“Nothing will perish, that He wishes to be saved!… The Gentiles could only consent to the faith of Christ, by embracing that everlasting Covenant on which the salvation of the world was founded…. ‘Seven men of the Gentiles shall take hold of the cloak of one Jew, and say: ‘We will go with you!’ (Zechariah 8:23). Again, ‘they shall come from afar — and ascend into Mount Zion!’

“Abraham too was called a father of many nations. Because ‘they shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with him in the Kingdom of God’ (Matthew 8:11)…. ‘There shall be one flock’…. All the children of God may be gathered into one body, even as we confess that there is one holy general Church — and there must be one body with one Head…. There is one God, one faith, and one baptism…. Although the flock seems to be divided into different folds, yet believers who are scattered throughout the world are enclosed within common bounds — in that the same Word is preached to all, and the same Sacraments are used….

“Observe the way in which the flock of God is collected! It is when there is one Shepherd of all, and His Voice is heard…. Only when the Church submits to Christ alone, obeys His commands, and hears His teaching — is she in a well-ordered condition…. Our starting point, must always be at the Head…. There is no Church, if God does not reign there — and no Kingdom of God, but
where the title of Shepherd is allowed to Christ….

“Our salvation is dearer to Him, than His Own life!… The death of Christ would give the disciples great sorrow…. He comforts them with the hope of His resurrection…. He would not die to be swallowed up by death, but speedily to rise again as Conqueror…. He is life, because He has conquered magnificently in His conflict with death, and achieved a noble triumph.”

Calvin also says in his Institutes III:24:6 & II:12:4: “Christ…spontaneously offers Himself as our Shepherd, and declares that we are of the number of His sheep if we hear (and obey) His voice…. ‘I lay down My life, so that I might take it up again!'” For the sheep! Are you one of them?