Happy and Blessed Christmas !
What a perfect time to study John Chapter 10! Oh, how I love to remember Jesus is my good shepherd!
I, of course, am a sheep.
Do you know about sheep? They are dumb. They tend to follow the crowd. Sometimes, when they get near distractions like flowing water or loud sounds, they panic. Sheep have been know to jump in the rushing water if another sheep jumps. (who doesn’t tend to follow the crowd or give in to temptation?)
Sheep don’t know what they need. They wander aimlessly and can miss the best food and safest place to sleep. Ha! How much time do I waste "wandering" in my own distracted way????
Enter: The Good Shepherd.
The Good Shepherd guides the sheep. He gently prods them in the right direction. He protects them from wolves. He stays right with the flock.
Guess what? The Shepherd stays so close to the sheep -- the sheep begin to recognize HIS voice only.
They will not follow another.
When the Shepherd brings his flock to a town, there is a gate and corral for all the sheep of several shepherds. The Shepherd coaxes his sheep into the gate. All the flocks go in there together. When the Shepherd comes back ONLY His sheep will follow Him out of the gate .
Are you getting the picture here???? The SHEEP know the Shepherd’s VOICE!
How do the sheep know the Shepherd ? THEY have spent time with HIM!
The devil will try to get you to follow him…but let’s always listen for the voice of the Shepherd who loves you.
Jesus is the GOOD SHEPHERD. With this in mind….let’s read about our loving Shepherd:
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
Jesus is not only the SHEPHERD. HE is also the GATE to Heaven!
The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Please get to know Jesus well. GIVE YOUR LIFE TO HIM. YOU will know HIS voice and follow HIM only.
But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Be sure to ask yourself -- Is this from Jesus or my own selfish desire? The devil will tempt you with your own bent toward selfishness!
Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
The devil has come to steal and kill -- steal innocence, steal joy, steal love, family, homes and he will ultimately KILL your ability to think outside of your selfish desires. Look how we kill babies -- Why ?
Look how we destroy marriages through divorce - why?
The devil loves to steal and kill -- Ask Jesus.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Thank you, Jesus, for LIFE!
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Thank you, Jesus, for dying for us!
The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
You might follow someone or something else temporarily. Watch out! That person or thing will NOT protect you from harm !
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Jesus has just told us how He will die for us. He knows YOU so intimately -- He LOVES you so completely. He will never leave you. He died for YOU.
The Jews who heard these words were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
Again -- I love the way John captures this dialog among the Pharisees and the Jews. They are still clueless. They want PROOF.
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Jesus just gave the Pharisees the salvation message!
When I teach children about Jesus' message of salvation, I make a fist and ask them to pry it open. They can not open my fist. I tell them "Jesus holds you and no one can take you from HIS hand once you have given your life to HIM -- truly, completely -- surrendered."
I and the Father are one.”
HERE is yet another statement where Jesus says HE is GOD.
When others say Jesus was just a good guy, but not God, you can say, “Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or LORD.” You have to decide.
Jesus said He was GOD.
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
The guys want to get rid of Jesus! He is a TRUE threat to their position in society!
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
Again, Jesus says He is God!
Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus.
OH, how wonderful to believe in Jesus and know the Good Shepherd is watching out for me!
Today, may you know that peace as you walk through this tough world.
You have a shepherd who wants to lead you.
PLEASE - listen to His voice!