Jesus, the Good Shepherd

John 10:11-13

I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.

But he that is an hireling, and not the Shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

Hireling

Yesterday’s passage introduced Jesus as the Door, the only way to salvation. Today, He is the Good Shepherd.

The metaphor of the shepherd was familiar to the Israelites, perhaps with the exception that it was an unusual shepherd who was actually willing to die for his sheep. He may battle an animal to protect the sheep, but to willingly die for the sheep was not common.

I like this quote from Spurgeon:  “He is giving His life still. The life that is in the Man Christ Jesus He is always giving for us. It is for us He lives, and because He lives we live also. He lives to plead for us. He lives to represent us in heaven. He lives to rule providence for us.” (Spurgeon)

The hireling has no investment in the sheep. He makes his living by keeping an eye on them, but he is not willing to risk his life to save them. They are not his. In his mind, they exist for his benefit, to give him a job and the money he needs to feed himself and his family. There is no emotional connection between him and the flock.

He sees the wolf (the thief, robber, murderer) coming, but he does not prepare to defend the flock. Instead, he runs to protect himself, and leaves the flock to the depredations of the wolf.

So who is the wolf in this metaphor? He is Satan, the father of lies; the thief, the robber, who sneaks in to destroy the sheep. The hireling is a faithless shepherd because he will not protect the sheep from the great evil that threatens them.

And the sheep are too stupid to recognize the danger until it is in their midst and blood has already been shed.

Jesus is the Door

John 10:7-10.

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the Door of the sheep.  

All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.  

I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 

 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

7 Bible verses about Christ The Door

Jesus adds another name to His list of “I AM.” Earlier, He said He was the Living Water; the Light of the Word, the Son of God. Now, He is the only Door to the sheepfold.

Believers have become so familiar with these Names of Jesus that I fear we take them for granted. I personally am very thankful for this study, as it has made me more aware and in awe of Who Jesus is! It is good to be reminded that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

We live in a world that is full and overflowing with man-made religion. We are told that there are many ways to heaven; that as long as we live good lives, we’ll be okay.

This teaching is one of the thieves that comes to kill, steal, and destroy. It is a lie, from the father of lies, whose only goal is to destroy all that God loves. It calls upon us to ignore Jesus Christ, because He is just one of the ways to heaven. There are many others that have been claimed, and made to appeal to our human pride. Do good works. Give money to charity. Be nice. Bow down to other gods. Don’t worry, as long as you do your best, you’ll be fine.

The trouble with all that lies in the sinful nature of mankind. It lies in our pride. It lies in our desire to be equal with God, and to not need the salvation offered by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Satan has always known that pride is the most effective path to the will and the heart of mankind.

Here, Jesus says only He is the Door. All others, past, present, and future, are thieves and robbers who come to kill and destroy. The souls of mankind are in the balance between Jesus and all the false gods that have been set up to try to obscure the Light of the World.

It is only through Jesus Christ that we can find salvation. Christianity is the only faith that offers a risen Savior! But even in Christianity, Satan has managed to pervert and twist the truth so that doing good works while claiming the Name of Jesus becomes the primary way of salvation.

So, how can we know the real truth? Through the inspired Word of God, the Bible. Even though it has been under attack forever, it has stood the test of time and is still the most-purchased book of all-time. It has been burned, banned, tossed out like garbage, but it still stands as the source of truth. There are SO many stories of people who have started out reading the Bible in order to prove that it is false, but who have come to faith in God instead through His inspired Word.

Jesus is the Source of light and life. His arms are still wide open, just as they were on the Cross, to all who believe and trust in Him.

Sunday Morning Coffee: The Fourth!

My birthday is July 4. It’s the absolute best day of the year to have a birthday. I’m now officially 73, and not in the least embarrassed to acknowledge it. I’ll never understand why some women don’t want anyone to know their age. I’m thankful for my years, thankful for my health, my family; thankful that I’m not senile yet, and that Jesus Christ is still Lord of my life. The closer I get to heaven, the more I want to be there.

Independent Woman (@woman_self) | Twitter

I’ve always loved this picture of a WWII woman working in the factory, stepping up her game, and showing how strong women can be. We can answer the call, however and whatever it may be.

I’m definitely of an independent nature, and I’ve taken a lot of good-natured kidding about that over the years. Even my mother told me she thinks I waited until the Fourth to be born because I was already independent. I was scheduled to come on June 20. My poor mom waited a long time past her due date, But three of my four paid it all back. That was before the doctors were agreeing to schedule you to be induced on a date that was convenient for everyone.

So I like the idea and the reality of strong, capable, independent women. Doesn’t mean we can’t be soft, cry, need help (we hate to ask for it, though!) It means that we’re not afraid to take on a job that is new to us, or seems beyond our skills or abilities. Not afraid to confront wrong when we need to. Not afraid to speak our minds. Not afraid to set boundaries and insist they be respected.

The trick to doing all that without becoming a shrew is to be able to laugh at yourself when you’ve been a jerk. It’s being able to admit you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, and to admit that someone else could do it better than you can. It’s also learning how to lead without creating animosity; how to understand what makes other people tick, so that you don’t tick them off.

It’s a growth process, and I think it will be until I take my final breath. Won’t it be wonderful to wake up in heaven and have all the trials of life be GONE! No more burdens, no more sorrow, no more hurt feelings or angry people.

No more desecration of the country you love. No more having to watch people who are emboldened by the defunding of police departments to do whatever they want, wherever they want, knowing no one can stop them. No more ignorance, no more filthy language shouted in the faces of police officers doing their jobs.

Well. This has taken a bit of a turn. For a minute, I thought about deleting that last paragraph, but no. It’s on my heart. I hate what I see happening in my country, the best country anywhere, but I fear we’ve lost the right to sing God Bless America! when we certainly have not blessed Him.

What do I mean? Well, just one example: The greatest death rate in this country is unborn babies. Millions of them, killed in the womb and expelled and dumped in the trash. The number of deaths from Covid, which I am NOT trying to diminish, is nothing compared to abortion deaths.

So I pray a lot, and in fact sometimes I realize that, especially on a day when I’ve been alone most of the day, I’ve been having an all-day conversation with the Lord. I call it having a little talk with Jesus 🙂

Glenn usually sings lead, so he’s having some fun here doing the bass part

Following the Shepherd

John 10:3-5.

To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.

And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

Hearing His Voice – Today God Is First

A friend recently commented to me that sheep aren’t exactly geniuses, but they can learn their own names. They respond to their names. The other Name they respond to is the that of the Shepherd, Whose voice they recognize. In fact, they won’t follow the voice of a stranger.

Maybe they’re smarter than we give them credit for.

There was a keeper of the door in the sheepfolds of the day, and the doorkeeper would open only for the shepherd, or his designated employee. So I got to thinking about who the doorkeeper of my heart would be.

I believe it is the Holy Spirit Who keeps my heart’s door protected, and allows only my Good Shepherd to enter. I love what Dr. Charles Stanley describes as a “check in the spirit.” This happens when someone other than God is trying to get into your heart; someone who wants to misdirect you, take you on a forbidden path, away from the Good Shepherd. Those illicit temptations are many, aren’t they? I feel that check in the spirit in areas I particularly love, like reading or listening to music. “Oh, be careful little eyes. . .be careful little ears. . .” If you went to Sunday school as a child, you’ll remember that song. Even though we learn it as little children, it applies all our lives.

This passage tells us that when the Shepherd takes the sheep out of the fold, He walks in front of them. He leads them, knowing that they will follow because they know Him.

But there are always those who stray, and when they do, the Shepherd seeks them and rescues them from their folly.

Not only will the sheep refuse to follow the voice of a stranger. They will run away from him, because they don’t know him.

Do we run away from Satan? He is the stranger who tries to enter the sheepfold some way other than the door. He may entice us in a number of different ways, but if we sense that check in the spirit, we will refuse to follow. In fact, we will RUN the other way! A wise decision, always.

The Door of the Sheepfold

John 10:1-2.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold  of the sheep, but climbs up … | New american standard bible, The good  shepherd, Sayings

In Chapter 9, we saw a lengthy confrontation between the religious leaders, often referred to as shepherds in that time, and the healed man, his parents, and Jesus. Jesus observed clearly the heartlessness of the Pharisees toward the “common people,” for whom they had little respect and less personal concern. Their chief goal seems to have been NOT the elevation of God, but their personal elevation in terms of status, authority, and appearances.

With all that in mind, it isn’t surprising that Jesus turns to a message about the importance of the shepherd, the right way to enter service to the people (the sheep), and the importance of the understanding that God has established boundaries for those who would desire to be spiritual leaders of the people.

One cannot choose his own way of becoming a spiritual leader. He must go through the appointed door. Anyone else is a thief and a liar, having no sense of the sacrifice involved in being a true shepherd. In fact, too many have used the position of spiritual leadership for their own gain financially, and also for fame and influence in high places.

So what is this door that is the designated, God-given way of entering the sheepfold? I believe it is through love, calling, care, and sacrificial service.

Love. He who would become a shepherd of the people must truly love God, and love the people to whom he ministers. He cannot consider his people merely as a means to an end. He cannot love only those who are lovable by human standards. He must see them as God sees them. He must care for each one individually. He has the responsibility of the entire flock, and if the flock becomes larger than he can handle personally, then he must find assistants who also love the sheep, and love the Lord. Not one sheep can be neglected.

Calling. A true shepherd has a sense in his spirit of what God is calling him to do. He may try to resist the calling, knowing that he will work hard and not always be appreciated. He will be misunderstood, misquoted, and wrongly accused. Being a shepherd can be a thankless task, but the rewards can be great. Those rewards are not always financial comfort. They come in seeing souls brought to Christ; in seeing spiritual growth and understanding in the flock; in spending his life in service to the One Who has called him.

Care. The shepherd’s life will be one of putting his people ahead of his own needs. It will be one of caring that God’s work is being done with zeal and, sometimes, hardship. It will involve caring for the needs of his own family as well as the church family. Primarily, he must care about the constant study of God’s Word, seeking God in prayer, and lifelong learning of how to best care for those who rely on him.

Sacrificial service. I’ve known a lot of pastors in my lifetime. Most of them were the shepherds of smaller congregations, not megachurches, and most of them labored and passed into eternity without ever seeing their names in the headlines. Most of them were godly, honest, humble men who didn’t concern themselves with financial gain. They were always quick to answer a call from any one of their people. They were friends, comforters, supporters, sources of knowledge for grieving people who needed help in dealing with the details of the loss of a family member.

I could tell stories all day about my own father, who was a pastor, as well as others I have known. Good shepherds. Reliable, honest, earnest men whose primary goal was to please God.

They are the ones who go into the sheepfold through the designated door, and not through some other means.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

John 10:1. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

The Shepherd Uses the Gate" — John 10:1-2 (What Jesus Did!)

Today, we are starting a wonderful chapter, one that has become a great favorite of mine. John 10 is Jesus as the Good Shepherd. He goes in and out of the sheep fold only by the door. Anyone who enters any other way is a thief, and has no good intentions. I’ve heard many sermons from this chapter over the years, some tied in with Psalm 23.

When I was very young, probably five or six, I got a jigsaw puzzle as a gift. I don’t remember the gifter, but I wish I did. I loved it so much. It was a picture of the famous painting of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Let me see if I can find it. . . . .

The Good Shepherd LORD Jesus Christ and His Sheep – Ethiopian Orthodox  Tewahdo Church Sunday School Department – Mahibere Kidusan

There are literally dozens of interpretations of this story, but this one feels the most familiar. It was hard for me, at that age, because of the many sheep. So many of the pieces looked alike. I have no idea how often I put it together, put it all back in the box, did it again. I do remember thinking, as I worked, about everything I knew about the story in John 10 and Psalm 23. This puzzle gave me an early and lifelong vision of Who Jesus was, and how much He loved us.

Later, working as a Sunday school teacher and a children’s church story teller, I often enjoyed sharing the story of Snowflake, the little lamb who rebelled against the shepherd and got lost. The Shepherd gave His life, in the story, seeking the one lost sheep and bringing it safely back to the fold. It’s quite a dramatic story. I’ll always remember the little boy who, when the Shepherd called Snowflake’s name, “baahhhed” in response before I could do it myself. He was totally involved with the story 🙂

This is a wonderful chapter, full of great gospel truth that is so simple a child can understand it. It is so profound that educated adults can’t grasp the full meaning of it. That’s probably because our minds are all cluttered up with our knowledge, leaving very little room for the simple truth of the gospel.

I hope you will enjoy the chapter as much as I do as we journey through it.

For Judgment I am Come!

John 9:39-41.

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

And some of the Pharisees which were with Him heard these words, and said unto Him, Are we blind also?

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

Bible Reading: Be a Clear-headed and Sharp-eyed Person

Was Jesus speaking in riddles here, as the story of the healed blind man comes to an end?

It may seem so at first glance, but we need to take a broader look at the gospel message. He came that all men might have access to salvation and eternity in heaven. But, in preparation for that event, He knew that people would be divided over Him before He ever came to the Cross.

And they were divided, almost from the moment He was born. His legitimacy was questioned. His sanity was questioned. His claims of deity were questioned. Even the miracles He performed in plain sight of multitudes were questioned. The human mind wants to explain things to fit our own understanding. If we can do that, then it’s not so much a miracle as it is a perfect conjunction of events at just the right moment. If you stop to think about that, you’ll quickly see that such would be a miracle in itself 🙂

What Jesus was saying here is that His coming would mark a great divide among mankind. A judgment, if you will.

In America, we have the Great Continental Divide. On the eastern side, most rivers and waterways flow to the east and south. On the western side, they flow to the west and south. There are a very few exceptions, which is an interesting matter of geography. But that divide clearly exists, just as the divide existed then, and still does today, between those who see clearly Who Jesus was, and those who do not–or will not.

The Pharisees who heard His words asked, “Well, then, are we blind because we do not see You as God?” (My own paraphrase, and I wish I could convey to you in words the disdain and anger with which these men spoke. They were the “in” men, after all; the leaders, the rulers of the spiritual and day to day lives of the people. But–I believe that there were those among them who were having stirrings of awareness that Jesus was something with which they had never dealt before.

Jesus’ response was profound. Summed up, again in my own words, it was something like this: “If you deny that you are blind, and are not willing to see, then you will continue in your sin. But if you recognize your blindness, and have an awareness of your own sinful nature; if you are convicted and grieved by your sin, then you will receive spiritual sight. “

I love this quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon: “We ought not to suffer any person to perish for lack of knowing the gospel. We cannot give men eyes, but we can give them light.”

Jesus is the Light of the World!

Lord, I Believe!

John 9:34-38.

They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on Him?

And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.

And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him.

Crosscards.com — Lord, I believe

The Pharisees, angry and frustrated, harshly told the blind man, “You were born completely immersed in sin, and do you dare to teach us?

The Bible says that they cast him out of the synagogue. They were particularly angry with him because he was right, and they knew it at some level in their self-righteous souls. So they “cast him out,” which most of the commentators I’ve checked agree that it means they excommunicated him from the synagogue. This was a very serious matter, as I’ve said before. I’m quite impressed with this man, with his courage and determination not to be moved by the powerful religious leaders who rejected Jesus completely.

Jesus knew he had been cast out, and He went to speak with him. He asked the man, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

The blind man’s response indicated just a little bit of confusion. He asked Jesus, “Lord (rabbi), Who is He? I want to believe on Him!”

Jesus said, ” It is He that hath touched you; It is He that you see; it is He with Whom you speak.”

And the man replied instantly, “Lord, I believe!”

Have you ever stopped and thought about how sweet, how wonderful, those words are to Jesus? For every person who comes to Him in faith, saying, “Lord, I believe!” there is one more soul saved from eternal damnation. One more soul that responds to His incredible, amazing grace and love. One more soul who understands the gift of salvation.

We are told that the man then worshiped Jesus. I believe he was kneeling before Jesus, bowing his head in reverence. Many assume that the once-blind man became one of Jesus’ followers in His journey to the Cross. I don’t know that for sure, but it’s certainly possible.

The Pharisees rejected the blind man. Jesus accepted him. The Pharisees castigated him. Jesus went and found him. The Pharisees disallowed the man to continue to worship in the synagogue. Jesus accepted his worship right there on the spot. What a balm to the man’s spirit it must have been to be loved, accepted, and touched by the hand of God.

He Could do Nothing!

John 9:30-33.

The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence He is, and yet He hath opened mine eyes.

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.

Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.

If this Man were not of God, He could do nothing.

If This Man Were Not From God, He Could Do Nothing” – In God's Image

This is truly an amazing statement from a man who had been blind all his life; was considered nothing more than a beggar, and possibly guilty of great sin (hence his blindness), uneducated and not worth noticing until now, when his sight had been miraculously restored. I am amazed at the courage he showed, and also at his gift for stating the obvious 🙂

In verse 30, we hear that touch of sarcasm again (my own paraphrase): Why, this is an amazing thing! You religious leaders don’t know Who He is or where He comes from, yet He has opened my eyes–something no one else, including you, has been able to do!”

Then he goes on to teach them what they knew, but did not practice: “We know that God does not regard the prayer of a man who continuously sins and has no intent of changing. But we also know that God does hear the prayer of a sinner who is repentant! I have repented, and have begged God to give me sight! (again, my own paraphrase here. Please, don’t mistake this–I am not adding to scripture. I am only imagining how it may have been said today).

Then, he makes what to me is his crowning argument: “Since the beginning of the world, no one has ever heard of any man giving sight to the blind! If this man were not of God, He could do nothing!”

The blind man’s faith was rock solid, so sure was he that Jesus was indeed of God! Imagine having had the hands of Jesus touching your face; hearing His voice reassuring you and telling you what to do next. Imagine being that close to the Son of God, and having Him minister to you in such a tender and loving way. Imagine going to Siloam, washing your eyes and face, and then opening your eyes and, for the first time, being able to see what was before you! I think the man had perfect vision! It was not clouded, or near-or far-sighted. It was clear! Colors, light, the faces of his loved ones–all clear for the first time. Yes, He knew it was God! He knew no ordinary man could have done the miracle that restored his sight.

Do you think he had persuaded the Pharisees?