Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Christ's Death: Example or Substitute?

"The words 'for (hyper) the sheep' suggest sacrifice. The preposition, itself ambiguous, in John always occurs in a sacrificial context ... In no case does this suggest a death with merely exemplary significance; in each case the death envisaged is on behalf of someone else. The shepherd does not die for his sheep to serve as an example, throwing himself off a cliff in a grotesque and futile display while bellowing 'See how much I love you!' No, the assumption is that the sheep are in mortal danger; that in their defence the shepherd loses his life; that by his death they are saved. That, and that alone, is what makes him the good shepherd."

- Don Carson, The Gospel According to John, p. 386, commenting on John 10:11.

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