The Good Shepherd

I’ve been reading through the book of John as part of my personal devotions. What I’ve noticed is how it’s a huge treasure trove of the character of God, pointing to the pivotal point around which the Gospel centers: Jesus is Lord.

In John 10, Jesus continues one of His many teachings. As I read through this chapter, the peoples’ reaction to these things particularly struck me.

It’s interesting to note that first, the people complained that Jesus wasn’t being clear in His words. What the heck does He mean by saying He’s the Good Shepherd, they wondered. They even went so far as to confront Jesus and grumble, “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly” (verse 36). Jesus responded that, if they truly desired to know Him, they would be able to discern His words. But the people were in it for themselves, and they did not understand His words. It was a test of their faith, and our own.

People in Biblical times didn’t directly state “I am so-and-so’s son.” Instead, the focus and respect was typically on those who were older, and so a child would say, “So-and-so is my father.” Jesus does that here, by saying God is His Father. If God is Jesus’ Father, than, naturally, Jesus is God’s Son.

Yet when, in this way, he explicitly states to the people that He is indeed the Christ, they stone Him for blasphemy. Their hearts were hardened against Him, and no matter what Jesus said, they would not believe Him. If He continued to perform miracles without acknowledging His true identity (which is impossible, since all miracles are from God), they would call Him a demon, an insane and possessed lunatic. But if He proclaimed the Gospel (the promises of God and why Jesus came to earth in the first place), they would accuse Him of blasphemy. They could not be satisfied, because they hated Him so much. They were determined to find something accusatory against Him no matter what.

We do the same thing. Often, we’re so convinced that we’re right, that when God tells us otherwise, we cover our ears, shut our eyes, and close our hearts. We’re determined to have our own way, no matter what. So, often we turn against the voice of God

But even when our faith in Him wavers, He is still faithful. He guides us back home, safely into the fold once more.

“The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.” (John 10:3-4)

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