Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Shepherd and His Flock

We are up to the tenth chapter of John, examining it from the perspective of someone reading it for the first time after being presented the biblical gospel.
1 "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

Many people say that the Bible is all metaphor, and should not be taken literally. Well, here we are to take it that Jesus literally spoke in a metaphor, or a figure of speech. How do we know this? Well, the Bible tells us this. Literally.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

When people tell me that Jesus came not to judge and that 'good' Hindus and 'good' Buddhists will be saved as well, I simply ask them where in the Bible they found that. Usually they respond with something about never reading the Bible. Well, if you just pick it up and read it for yourself, you can see plainly what Jesus came to do. He clearly states that only by going through Him will people be saved. There is no other name under heaven that saves. All others are thieves and robbers.

11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 1213 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.

As you find out the whole story, you see here that Jesus is foretelling his crucifixion. Not only that it would happen, but that the purpose was to lay down his life for his sheep.

14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to 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 authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

19 At these words the Jews were again divided. 20 Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?"

21 But others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

Before the crucifixion happened, there was a lot of speculation as to what He was speaking about. But, after Jesus laid down his life and took it up again, people still had the choice to make. Some think the idea is foolishness. To others, these are the words of life. Which choice have you made?

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