In John 10, Jesus continues speaking to the Pharisees, religious leaders, he was speaking to in John 9 when he told them they were guilty of sin. Last week’s post- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished– deals with that part of the conversation.
In this part, Jesus uses analogies to teach spiritual truths about himself, the analogies of gatekeeper, sheep and shepherd. Jesus begins with a statement to get the attention of the Pharisees.
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees”
Though he is addressing the Pharisees directly, there were others around to hear what Jesus had to say and what he says is recorded for our benefit to understand some important truths about Jesus.
Jesus contrasts the thief with the shepherd.
“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.”
The thief tries to get at the sheep by jumping the fence and does not want to come to the gate because the gatekeep will stop him. The shepherd comes to the gate.
Sheep are not very bright animals. They are helpless and unable to defend themselves. They get lost easy. They need the constant guidance and protection of the shepherd. No offense, but in this analogy we are the sheep. Without Jesus, we are lost and stumbling around spiritually.
But sheep do know one thing- the shepherd’s voice. Jesus said:
“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. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
If we know the voice of Jesus, we will not follow anything or anyone else. We need to know his voice which comes through prayer and study of the bible.
The Pharisees did not get it, so Jesus explained it for them by saying He is:
The gate- the way to enter
The shepherd- guides and protects the sheep
and Jesus contrasted himself with
the thief- comes to steal and destroy
a hired man- runs away at the sight of trouble leaving the sheep alone and helpless
In contrasting himself with the thief, Jesus shares this beautiful truth:
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Because of Jesus, we can have eternal life and also have relationship with God now. We can have a life full of meaning.
Jesus also pointed to why he came which was to die for us and defeat death for us by saying:
“I lay down my life for the sheep.”
“I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
The question is do we want to follow Jesus the one who gave his life for us and wants to give us eternal life and a life full of meaning or do we want to follow religion?
Thank you for reading. God Bless.