Prepare – John 10:11-18
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 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. This command I received from my Father.”
Happy Memorial Day! On this national holiday, we honor military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. We remember that “freedom isn’t free,” and we thank those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
In John 10, Jesus reminds us that freedom isn’t free. Grace isn’t cheap—it’s costly. And Jesus would pay that cost for us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in Cost of Discipleship:
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.
“Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son—“ye were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20)—and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.”
Jesus laid down His life for us, and He calls us to lay down our lives for others. Romans 12:1 calls us to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” Ephesians 5:25 calls husbands to “love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” And 1
John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
This Memorial Day, remember the Good Shepherd and His sacrifice. As a living sacrifice, seek ways to sacrifice your time, talent, and treasure for His flock today.
~ Pastor Steven Dunkel