laying down his life

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may 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 I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:11-18, ESV)

The bad shepherd doesn't really care about the sheep beyond what the sheep can do for him - provide a source of income or clothing or food. Jesus, the good shepherd, cares about the sheep. He cares about you. The bad shepherd abandons the sheep in danger, the good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep. I'm not sure that an actual shepherd would really sacrifice his life for sheep but Jesus did lay down his life, not just for innocent sheep, but for his enemies, me and you, who had rebelled against him and wanted him dead.

Jesus says that his kingdom was not just for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. He was laying his life down for them as well. He was laying down his life for your enemies as well as you. His death makes it possible for even the bad shepherds to be forgiven.

Jesus was not a victim of circumstance. While the people certainly chose to crucify him, he could have stopped it at any time. He chose to die for you and proved it by "taking" his life back up again. Who else could do that?