John 10

Today’s reading is John 10.
Open your Bible or journal to mark some observations:
+ As you read, highlight everything the shepherd does for his sheep.
+ Underline every sentence that begins with Jesus saying, “I am . . .”
Two years ago, our family spent Christmas in China, where we had traveled to bring home our newly adopted nine-year-old daughter. Our journey took us to the Grasslands of Inner Mongolia, past endless fields where we saw shepherds keeping watch over their flocks of sheep, light dimming as the sun set across the horizon. I wondered how much these kind and rugged men, women, and children had in common with the shepherds of old, the ones visited by the angel bringing good news of great joy.
Jesus is the good news of great joy.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and we who believe in him are his sheep. Left to ourselves, we are vulnerable creatures, at risk of attack by predators or losing our way.
But the Good Shepherd knows his sheep and his sheep know him. We recognize his call, because the Good Shepherd calls us by name, and the name he calls us is child.
The Good Shepherd goes before us. He leads us out, as the psalmist writes, to green pastures and still waters, where we not only live, but live abundantly.
The Good Shepherd lays down his life for us, and he does this of his own accord and authority.
“Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:4-7)
God—almighty, sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, infinite, holy God confines himself to human flesh, subjects himself to the pinnacle of human suffering, and pays the penalty for our sin. The Good Shepherd lays down his life, becomes the lamb—the perfect and spotless, righteous Lamb of God—so that we can be saved.
But the Good Shepherd does not only lay down his life. He takes it up again (John 10:18).
On the third day, a stone rolls and another angel delivers good news of great joy: “He is not here, for he has risen, just as he said.”
Jesus tells us in so many ways, through John’s ink, who he is.  He is the Word become Flesh, Light of the World, Living Water, the Bread of Life, both the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God. And here, in chapter 10, he adds one more: “I am the Door.”
This strange Covid Christmas may seem to come with its share of closed doors, but one door is wide open. Jesus invites us to enter by him into salvation. That is good news of great joy!
Just for today-

  • Of all the ways Jesus is described in the book of John, which description means the most to you personally? Why?
  • Jesus’ words in this passage divide the hearers into two camps: those who think him insane and those who believe in him. Why do you think people respond the way they do? How do you respond?
Rebecca Janni | Author

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