[Jesus said] “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
Authority Over Life and Death
If you’ve ever stood beside the bed of a loved one who is dying, you know how helpless that can feel—for them and you. The body grows weaker, the pain increases. Every treatment has been exhausted. There’s nothing more that can be done. All you can do is wait. You don’t get to decide when they die. God gives life and takes it away. It’s his timing, not ours.
Jesus was in the prime of life when he spoke the words of our Bible reading for today. Cancer wasn’t consuming him. His organs weren’t failing. But he knew he was going to die, and he knew when and how. Jesus was not just a human being. He was also the Son of God. As God, no one could take his life from him.
But he willingly laid down his life for you. The angry hatred of his enemies didn’t put him on the cross. His amazing love for you and me did. His enemies taunted him from the foot of the cross and told him to come down to prove that he was God. He could have done just that. But he stayed there and gave up his life to forgive those who fought against him and rescue those who ridiculed him.
And, just as he had the authority to lay down his life on his terms, Jesus had the authority to take his life back up again. He came back to life on Easter Sunday. His rising from the dead proves that he has taken care of your greatest need by overcoming sin and death for you. You can be at peace because Jesus has defeated death for you. And by his power, he will one day raise to eternal life with him all who trust in him as their Savior.
Jesus, when I face death, lead me to trust in you and know that you died and rose to give me life. Amen.