New International Version John 10: 17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 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."

2 Answers 2


This may be an oversimplification, but it seems clear from the passage that the command was to lay down his life.

  • 1
    I agree. The reason I ask is that he says "I lay it down of my own accord" which seems to be in tension with "I was commanded to lay down my life by my father". It also seems at odd with "not my will but yours be done". So should we understand that in relation to God he was acting under compulsion but in relation to man, acting independently?
    – Ruminator
    Mar 28, 2018 at 17:52
  • I have wrestled with this myself. I believe Jesus had a truly free will, in that he could have chosen to obey or disobey, but the consequences of disobedience wouldn't have yielded the fruit he truly longed for: our salvation. As a human, I believe he really dreaded the idea of dying, but the fruit of his obedience was worth the cost.
    – Gracelett
    Mar 28, 2018 at 18:25
  • Had he disobeyed God's command, is there any way in the world he would not have been sinning and would not have been punished? I trow not. Surely because he says he was commanded by God he had no choice in the matter, no?
    – Ruminator
    Mar 28, 2018 at 19:04
  • The Greek word ENTOLE per Vines can be interpreted as "precept". This would make more sense in the context.
    – alb
    Mar 29, 2018 at 0:53
  • Ruminator, this may seem like a cop-out answer, but I think if it was the Father's plan that He wouldn't sin, then speculating about "what if He did?" is sort of moot. He fulfilled the role He was destined to fulfill as a human: to be the propitiation for our sin. Again, seeing the big picture, His greater desire was to secure our salvation, so He did what was necessary to bring that about. Since He was fully God and fully man, He fulfilled the roles of both. Blessings!
    – Gracelett
    Mar 29, 2018 at 3:36

John 10:17-18
Here is what I see in the Greek:

17For this very reason the Father loves me, because I, myself, lay down my life in order that I might take it up anew. 18No one takes it away from me. But I myself, of myself, lay it down. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up anew. This commandment I received from my Father.

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Here are some important points to note:

  • τίθημι ψυχήν μου means "I lay down my life", so the additional pronoun ἐγὼ Jesus uses, makes it more emphatic: "I, myself, lay down my life" -- It's was a deliberate choice.

  • The NIV has Jesus laying down his life, "only to take it up again", which is a bit of a purposeless expression. However, the Greek word ἵνα (Strong's G2443 - hina) is decided, i.e. that/in order that/so that. The purpose of laying down his life was to demonstrate he had the POWER to take it back again.

  • Jesus reiterates in verse 18 what he had said in verse 17, but this time it is even more emphatic: "I myself, of myself, lay it down."

  • The word λάβω given as "received" is from λαμβάνω (Strong's G2983 - lambanō), which is the very same verb that Jesus uses when he says he would "take up" his life again. The Outline of Biblical Usage defines it like this: to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it.

So, the picture that comes to my mind in regard to the commandment is something like that depicted in Revelation in regard to the book in the hand of him that sat on the throne (Revelation 5).

In my mind I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a scroll, and a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and accomplish that which is written therein!" There was silence in heaven. An elder who stood near me said, "Take heart! Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, will prevail!" Then Jesus came and took the scroll out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

  • That is an interesting situation for comparison. Do you think, though, that Jesus at indicates that he was commanded to die? Or is he instead saying that he independently opted to?
    – Ruminator
    Mar 31, 2018 at 3:42
  • Well, Jesus reiterates in verse 18, what he had said in verse 17, but with even more emphasis: ἐγὼ τίθημι τὴν ψυχήν μου = "I myself, of myself, lay it down". How could he be any clearer that it was his desire? The illustration I gave is based on the fact that the verb used for "received" in regard to the commandment, is the same verb used for "take up" in regard to his life, both of which he had the power and the desire to do. However, we know from the Gethsemane scene that even though he had the inclination and the power, his flesh was working against him.
    – enegue
    Mar 31, 2018 at 4:10
  • It seems to me that he speaks of his independence in relation to the machinations of men but when it comes to gone he speaks of his obedience and acting under command. I don't think we should understand him to be posting of independence of God's will and gods requirement of him. In fact I find such a suggestion rather blasphemous. He says in fact I can do nothing of my own will but only when I I'm instructed to buy my father
    – Ruminator
    Mar 31, 2018 at 4:15
  • You have that dilemma because you see Jesus and God as two separate persons, but for me they are one-and-the-same. The body of the man Jesus, the flesh that was subordinate to God, was something God put together himself, for himself, so that he, himself could draw us to himself, because the best of his creatures had proven powerless to accomplish it.
    – enegue
    Mar 31, 2018 at 4:24
  • I say it because Jesus himself said it. I say it because Paul referred to God as the God and father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God is Not only Jesus's father, he is also Jesus is God. That is why Paul said at the head of Christ is God. What can Jesus do apart from God? Nothing. That's what Jesus said.
    – Ruminator
    Mar 31, 2018 at 4:27

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