Wednesday, 25th October 2017
There will be a little overlap of Scriptures from yesterday and today. The context of Jesus saying, “I am the good shepherd,” is in the same chapter in the Gospel of John when Jesus declared, “I am the door of the sheep.” Ask the Holy Spirit to join these truths about Jesus who is “the door of the sheep” and “the good shepherd” in your life today.
As you read the Bible, you will find there are some very difficult passages of Scripture. This is a normal experience. Your natural mind will never be able to comprehend what can be only spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” It is natural to read with our natural mind; however, it is only by God’s Spirit are we able to appraise what is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:15).
Sometimes Jesus explains His teaching very plainly but sometimes he doesn’t. Earlier this week we read in John 6 that many of Jesus’ disciples withdrew and stopped following Him after a “difficult teaching” (John 6:53-66). Jesus could have easily explained it to them and prevented them from leaving Him, but He didn’t. Why? Because “this is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29). Following Jesus starts by believing Him, not understanding. Your work is not in trying to understand; your work is to believe in Jesus. If you seek to understand first, somewhere down the line you will begin to withdraw and stop following Jesus altogether.
God’s Word is not a step-by-step handbook on life. It is not a textbook to educate you. If you approach His Word this way, it will discourage you very quickly. It contains gaps, difficult words and sentences, and eternal mysteries that often produces more questions than answers. The Word of God is not a textbook. It is an invitation from God for you to commune with Him.
So Christian, don’t let the gaps and difficulty of understanding cause you to withdraw. Instead, seek Him all the more through it. That is how God designed the Bible so that we lean not on our own understanding but trust Him with all of our heart. Let Him direct your path (Proverbs 3:5). As you do, you will begin to fully relate with what Peter said in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. May you to do the work of God as you read His Word – to believe in Jesus whom God has sent.
Today we will start with John 10 and read through some other portions of Scripture that will further help you meditate on our Lord Jesus as the Good Shepherd. As you read these passages, there will be the usual suggested process after the passages of Scripture that may help deepen your interaction with God and His Word. Please feel free to either follow this suggested process or engage in God’s Word in a completely different manner. Whether you are doing this as a personal devotion or in a group setting, the most important thing is that you allow the Spirit of God to lead your time together.
“I am the door of the sheep.”
Key verse: I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 ESV
1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:1-18
34 David answered Saul: “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 1 Samuel 17:34–36
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, Galatians 1:3-4
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus— the great Shepherd of the sheep — through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23
Suggested Reading Process: Read the above passages of Scripture three times through. Each reading will have a different question, instruction, or focus to consider.
The three reading stages and instructions are:
1st Reading – Enter
God’s Word is our spiritual food (Matt 4:4). When you read these passages of Scripture for the first time allow yourself to enter into His Word and familiarize yourself with the people, places, setting, and situation. Please feel free to open up your Bible and read around the verses to get a better feel of the context. Similar to entering into a place of eating: take in the atmosphere, smell the aroma, survey the food, and get settled in your seat.
Discussion Question: What are you discovering about the people, place, setting, and/or situation in some of these passages?
2nd Reading – Engage
As you read the same passages of Scripture for the second time, allow God’s Spirit to direct your attention to specific parts of the readings (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse). This is an important time to allow your soul to engage with the Holy Spirit through questions, thoughts, memories, and emotions about what He is showing you.
- What word, phrase, sentence, or verse stands out to you?
- What were you thinking, remembering, or feeling as you read through these verses again?
3rd Reading – Enjoy
As you move through these passages of Scripture for the third time, “chew” on the specific revelations God has given you. You may do this through praising God in prayer, worshipping Him in song, writing down what He has shown you, immediately obeying what God has asked you to do, going further into His Word, etc.
- What are you feeling thankful for?
- What Scripture(s) would you like to take into as the focus of prayer?
- Is there something God would have you start doing, stop doing, or do more of?