September 30, 2016
I enjoyed my read through John 10 this morning. Two “I am” statements and many other familiar statements of Jesus’ identity and work are found there.
Speaking in figurative language, Jesus begins by describing how the shepherd enters through the gate while the deceiver tries to enter a sheep pen by climbing over the walls or fences. Jesus describes briefly how the sheep will listen only to the voice of their shepherd. Unfortunately, the people didn’t understand His message.
So Jesus tries again. He is more specific about salvation and the life that is to come. He says, “I am the gate for the sheep,” stating that all who enter through Him will be saved. His comment in v. 10 regarding “abundant life” reminds us that the life Jesus comes to give is not focused on materialistic items of this world, which are here today and gone tomorrow. No, “abundant life” refers primarily to the full connection to God, the Author and Giver of Life everlasting.
Another of Jesus’ “I am” statements occur as He states, “I am the good shepherd.” He describes not only how He will lay down His life, thus predicting His sacrifice, but He also states how there are others that will be coming to the faith (the flock). I remember a conversation I once had with a young man who believed that this passage meant there is life on other planets. Really, this is what he thought. Hmmm. I just don’t think so. Instead, these words spoken to the Jews remind me that the Gentiles were also going to benefit from the lavishing, abundant love of God found in Jesus Christ the Gate, the Shepherd, the Light of the world.
By now I’m not surprised that the Jews were sharply divided on understanding who Jesus was. Jesus not only speaks to them, but He performs miracles in their presence. They won’t believe the miracles, or at least that He is from God doing such work. They think Jesus is a blasphemer (v. 33) and want to stone Him to death. As I was told years ago, “No good deed goes unpunished.” (No, that’s not a quote from the Bible. J)
Although the Jews try to take Him, even kill Him, Jesus is able to escape their grasp. How? I don’t know exactly. Simply put, it wasn’t His time and one thing I’ve learned…God’s Will, not the will of man, will be done in His life. He is in control. Even to the point of His death. Yes, even to the point of giving His life on the cross, God is in control. Amazing. May I too remember this truth as I seek to listen to His voice in a world full of clamor.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You are more to me than I can imagine. My gate to eternal life; my shepherd who walks and guides me; my savior where, because of You, no one can snatch me out of the Father’s hand. Don’t let me be like those unbelievers who witnessed miracles yet did not believe. Grant me faith and sustain me in this broken, darkened world where voices clamor for attention and most often don’t lead to abundant life in You. Amen.