John 10:17-18 “This is why the Father loves Me; because I lay down My life, so that I may take it back again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own free will. I have authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This commandment I received from My Father.” (NET – emphasis mine)
A song released by Damaras Carbaugh, “Willingly,” follows these two verses with a very inspirational message. It was released in 1996 on her album, Giving My Life Away, and was written by Phil and Marie Armenia. It is available to listen to on YouTube.
The lyrics are:
“No one takes My Life; I give it willingly. Holy Lamb, beaten and abused; His disciples, fearful and confused. Never understanding, things were meant to end this way; so in His pain and suffering, He turned with love to say,
(Chorus) No one takes My life; I give it willingly. For I can see the glory past the cross. So dry your eyes, My friends, and please don’t weep for me. No one takes My life; I give it willingly.
His Holy life shines in my heart; and its brilliance sets my life apart. Friends who live in darkness say they weep for me. They say my dreams have changed since Jesus took my life from me.
(Chorus) No one takes my life, I give it willingly. For I can see the glory in the cross. So dry your eyes, My friends, and please don’t weep for me. No one takes my life; I give it willingly.
No one takes my life; Jesus gives me life. Lord Jesus, use my life; I give it willingly, willingly, willingly.”
For anyone who has never seen or heard Miss Damaras sing, it would be well worth the effort to go to YouTube. I remember years ago, she was with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and I could hear her distinct voice on the radio over and above the whole group. She performed with the choir in the 80’s and 90’s, and was a soloist on many songs. She grew up in a Christian environment, and says she was named after a person who became a believer through the teaching of Paul the Apostle, in Acts 17:34.
Miss Damaras is not only a great gospel singer; she ministers for the Lord, and churches around the country have asked her to speak for their women’s conferences and retreats. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and she strives to minister wherever needed. She is happily married and has a grown son and grown daughter.
There is never any question of her love and devotion for the Lord. Listening to her recording of “Willingly,” and then reading the verses associated with it, gives an insight to our Redeemer that is often overlooked.
While most people have heard about Jesus being crucified, many times it’s portrayed that He was betrayed, arrested, beaten and put to death. Gospel accounts tell us Jesus died and was resurrected three days later. It’s a toss-up as to how many people actually believe all this to be true; but Jesus Himself said there would be “few” who would find the “straight and narrow path” (Matthew 7:13-14).
What the verses in John and the song “Willingly” point out is that Jesus was not taken by “force” but orchestrated His own crucifixion. In numerous verses in the New Testament, Jesus spoke of His being “lifted up” or crucified by the religious leaders of His day. He also told them that, as with the sign of Jonah, He would rise up after 3 days in the grave.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of the sacrifice of Jesus in Chapter 53; and Psalm 22 gives one of the things He said on the cross. “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?”
There are many other prophecies in the Psalms, Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah and others about the coming Messiah. Zechariah 11:12 tells us the price of His betrayal would be 30 pieces of silver. Isaiah 53:7 says He would be like a lamb led to slaughter, and would not defend Himself. Psalm 22:17-18 tells of lots being cast for His clothing. It goes on and on.
When our Savior came to this earth, it was not with all the power, glory and majesty that people believed would take place. That is being reserved for His second coming to put down the Tribulation, and rule from the Temple in Jerusalem for 1,000 years. He understood from the beginning of time, there would have to be a way for mortal, sinful men and women to be able to enter the presence of the most Holy God. Our Father can tolerate no sin, large or small. The sacrifice of animals could never be pure enough to “wash away” our sins forever, and Old Testament sacrifices were to show the Father the willingness to obey His instructions – or not.
When Jesus said that no one would “take” His life, He never gave up the authority to stop the procedure at any time. He even told Peter not to fight those who were arresting Him, as He could call out, and more than 12 legions of angels would rescue Him (Matthew 26:53).
Though Jesus knew the “physical” pain He would have to suffer, He did not hesitate to fulfill His mission. He did not do the sacrifice only for one group of people, but for “everyone” who would accept Him. John 10:16 says He lays down His life for the sheep (Jews), but also for others who will listen to His voice (Gentiles – everyone). They would all become one flock with one Shepherd.
Jesus was looking for the glory “past” the cross. He knew He would rise again, but the one part that He dreaded most was, for the first time ever, the Trinity would suffer separation. When Jesus took on all the sins of the world, the Father would have to look away briefly. In just that short time, Jesus experienced what the separation from God would be like for all the lost that would not accept Him. It’s believed that is when He cried out, “My God! My God!”
Very shortly thereafter, Jesus said, “It is Finished.” Then the human Jesus died. He wasn’t saying the crucifixion was finished, but the work He came to do was completed. By accepting the shed-blood gift of our Savior, our sins can now be forgiven forever. Sin and death conquered once and for all. Without accepting this free gift, one is held accountable for each and every sin they ever commit in this lifetime, and will be judged at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).
For true believers, we are granted an eternal home, and gladly proclaim to our Father, “No one takes my life; Jesus gave me life. Lord Jesus, use my life – I give it willingly.” There is nothing more satisfying on this earth than to know we are part of His flock.
Knowing the pain and suffering our Savior went through for what should have been our punishment, we reap the benefits of that sacrifice. If you haven’t done so, call out to Him to accept His sacrifice and to save you from the Lake of Fire. All who call on Him will be saved (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13). There is no other way to the Father than through Jesus (John 14:6).
He will be coming back before the tribulation to take all believers Home with Him to avoid the wrath that the Father will be taking out on this earth. The only way to escape this is to become one of His sheep, and be safely led by the Greatest Shepherd of all (Romans 10:9-13).
We do not know exactly when He will return, so to delay may put your soul in serious jeopardy. It’s a free gift that we cannot buy or earn, and certainly don’t deserve; but He gives it to us – “Willingly.” Call today.