A Deeper Dive into the Good Shepherd

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Tell us in plain words who you are.

John 10.22-24At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

There is a shift in time and audience for Jesus’ third short sermon about the Good Shepherd. The scene has Jesus walking in the Temple and being confronted by the religious authorities about whether he is the Messiah.

After Jesus’ reference to the shepherd in Ezekiel 34, it makes perfect sense that the religious authorities wanted to know if Jesus was the Messiah or not.

I always try to ask how I am like the “bad guys” in a Bible story. How could I resemble these religious authorities?

(1) Their country suffered tremendously under Roman rule. Our country is suffering under the corona virus in a way that most of us have never experienced.

(2) They had their idea of what the Messiah would look like and what he would do. The Messiah would fit into the “box” of their own beliefs and would fulfill their desires for their country. While I want the corona crisis to end quickly and for “business as usual” to return to our country, I also run the risk of trying to put Jesus in the “box” of my own thinking.

I also want to be like the truly “Good Guy” in this story, if I can refer to Jesus like this.

Jesus never did anything separate from the direction and will of the Heavenly Father. We recall that he said, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).

Rather than attempting to put God in the “box” of my own thinking, I strive to see what the Father is doing and to join him in his work. Whatever God’s will may be, I pray that we all will follow Jesus’ example as expressed in John 5.19.

Jesus answered the religious authorities by pointing to his followers.

John 10.25-30 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

Jesus answered the question of the religious authorities by pointing to what he did for his followers. People who follow Jesus can count on having six experiences that are the core of the best life possible.

(1) They listen to Jesus’ voice (verse 27). Please find a place and a time, so create an atmosphere to listen to Jesus.

(2) People who follow Jesus are getting to know him in the experiences of their lives (verse 27). Use this corona virus crisis as an opportunity to know Jesus as you have never experienced him before.

(3) They are starting to walk with and follow Jesus (verse 27). We can only walk with and follow Jesus, when we put down our own expectations and humbly follow his directions for life.

(4) They are receiving deep, lasting life from Jesus (verse 28). “Eternal” life is both a quality and a quantity. Jesus promises the best life possible both now and heaven forever.

(5) People who follow Jesus are given special assurance that they are secure in Jesus’ hand (verse 28). No matter what happens in life, we can count on Jesus holding our hand through the experience.

(6) They are forever safe in Jesus’ hand (verse 28). No one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. Paul highlights this beautiful fact in Romans 8.

Romans 8.38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Your Turn

Ask God to show you his heart. Get to know him, as you make personal the six realities of life that Jesus gives to those who follow him.

Ask God to show you your own heart. In what way are you like the “bad guys” in this story, trying to fit God into the “box” of your own expectations? In what way are you like the truly “Good Guy,” by looking for what God is doing so you can join him in his work?

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, may we listen to Jesus and follow him in every way. We put aside, as best we can, our own fears and trust you to give us life – your abundant life that cannot be taken from us. Thank you for your unquenchable love and grace.

6 Comments

  1. Lord, may I not only refuse to put You in a “box” – let me throw out the box entirely. There is so much about our lives that I don’t understand – and, yet, I have the personal experience of knowing You are unchanging. So in the middle of pandemic lockdown, seeing many of Your children teetering on the edge of falling away, show me how and when to be about Your work. I ask for wisdom and words You want said, for discernment when to stay out of Your way, for boldness as You direct. May I be a “good guy” for the next hour, for this morning, for today…humbly relying on Your sovereignty. In You, my eternity is set, Lord – ease my worries, then, about today. Allow me to share the reminder of Your eternity as encouragement to those struggling. I love You, Jesus – my refuge, my hope, my Savior. Amen

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Amen! I know through my walk with Jesus that the first 3 experiences are very powerful. Evey day these 3 experiences give me the comfort of knowing I can conquer anything that life throws at me knowing that Jesus gives us eternal life, love, and happiness. Praise Jesus!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a great time to have a deeper walk, to give more release and purpose to have God in all we are and do.
    “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:4)
    Thank you for this teaching and your dedication brother Bob!

    Liked by 1 person

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