What does John 10:17 mean?
ESV: For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
NIV: The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again.
NASB: For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it back.
CSB: This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again.
NLT: The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.
KJV: Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
NKJV: “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
Verse Commentary:
The comments made here and in verse 18 are also controversial to Jesus' audience. Jesus is claiming to be the sole legitimate means of salvation for mankind (John 10:1–13), and even indicating that He will bring "other sheep," meaning Gentiles, into this intimate relationship with God (John 10:14–16). Those remarks, in and of themselves, would have been tough for His critics to digest.

Here, Jesus again refers to His impending death. This is a point over which even His own disciples argued (Mark 8:31–33). Jesus has already implied that He is willing to die for the sake of His spiritual "sheep," as "the Good Shepherd" described earlier (John 10:10–14). This statement goes further and indicates that God the Father has special affection for Jesus specifically because He is laying down His life for the sake of these people. This is echoed in other New Testament Scriptures (Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 1:19–21; Hebrews 2:9).

In the following verse, Jesus will reiterate that this is not a matter of theory: He will truly die. However, Jesus also predicts that He will resurrect from that death based on authority given Him by God.

It's not shocking, then, to see many who were listening to Jesus' words dismiss Him as a raving lunatic. He claims to be the sole example of a "good shepherd," with special favor from God, who will soon rise from the dead. Others, of course, point out that Jesus' miraculous signs make it very awkward to believe He's insane or demonically possessed.
Verse Context:
John 10:1–21 continues directly from Jesus' encounter with local religious leaders, after giving sight to a man born blind (John 9). Jesus' references here to shepherds and shepherding are pointed barbs at these hypocritical, self-serving figures. In this section, Jesus actually creates three separate metaphors; these are not meant to be understood as a single analogy. The first comes in verses 1 through 6, the second in verses 7 through 9, and the third in verses 10 through 18. In doing so, Jesus explains how He differs from the corrupt leaders He confronts. He also delivers His third and fourth ''I am'' statements, out of seven in this gospel.
Chapter Summary:
This passage continues Jesus' discussion with the religious leaders of Jerusalem, seen in chapter 9. Jesus lays out three separate analogies about His ministry, using the concept of sheep and shepherds. In those statements, Jesus explains why some people refuse to accept Him, declares Himself the only means of salvation, and again predicts His sacrificial death. This leads to controversy. Later, Jesus is cornered by a mob in the temple grounds. They once again try to stone Him as He repeats His divine claims, but He escapes in some way not fully described by the text. After this, Jesus leaves the area and returns to the region where John the Baptist had once preached.
Chapter Context:
Starting in chapter 7, the gospel of John describes Jesus' preaching at the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. Through chapters 7 and 8, He debates with critics and attempts to explain spiritual truths. On the way out of the city, Jesus gives sight to a man born blind, as shown in chapter 9. That begins an extended debate which continues in this chapter. Jesus gives analogies of His mission using shepherding as a theme. Months later, He repeats those ideas when cornered by an aggressive mob in the temple. This sets the stage for His grandest miracle, the raising of Lazarus, seen in chapter 11.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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