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Laying Down and Taking Up the Soul

John 10:17

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The night before Jesus was crucified, He said: “I lay down My soul so that I may take it again.” Jesus followed the command of His Father, Who had given him authority to lay His soul down and to take it up again.


For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My soul, so that I may take it again.

John 10:17

Therefore, we know that souls may be laid down at death and taken up again in resurrection. The soul survives physical death and Jesus took up His soul again in His glorified body. Apparently, Jesus exists separately from His soul, because He can lay down His soul and take it up again. In both instances, His soul was associated with a body.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus discussed the soul in the context of sheep and their Shepherd. Jesus said that the Good Shepherd lays down his soul for the sheep (John 10:11, 15). In fact, the Father loves Jesus because He lays down His soul for the sheep. In the context, Jesus talked about the wolf coming to snatch and scatter the sheep (John 10:12). The Jewish council came to kill Jesus, and He laid down His soul for the sheep. Jesus gave His soul as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). 

John also used the term “soul” to describe the Jews who had their souls lifted up (“”) as the wondered if Jesus was the Christ (John 10:24).

Jesus the explained that He who loves His soul in destroys it. The term “destroys” (“”) means eternal destruction frequently in the New Testament. The one who hates his soul in this world (“”) will guard (“”) it to age life (“”) (John 12:25). Therefore we know that hating your soul with its passions and desires, often connected to the body, must be hated. God commands people to love Him with all your heart (“καρδίᾳ”), with all your soul (“ψυχῇ”) and with all your mind (“διανοίᾳ”) Matthew 22:37)


Popular translations that substitute the world “life” for soul miss the emphasis Jesus placed upon the soul here. The soul of Jesus became deeply troubled as He approached the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified. We would not see the interplay between: (a) Jesus intentionally laying down His soul; and (b) the soul of Jesus being troubled.  s the willful laying down His soul with His soul



John 12:25


  1. Jesus then explained that the one who hates (“ὁ μισῶν”) his soul in this world (“κόσμῳ”) to age life (”ζωὴν αἰώνιον”) shall guard (“φυλάξει”) it.
2. John 12:24 Jesus alone was good Luke 18:19, but when He dies, He is no longer alone, but now by grace through faith makes many people good, so He alonne is no longer good.  See good fruit, good heart, good soil.
John 10:17 Jesus laid down His soul so that He may take it again.