A Story about Sheep
I tell you for certain only thieves and robbers climb over the fence instead of going in through the gate to the sheep pen. 2-3But the gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd, and he goes in through it. The sheep know their shepherd's voice. He calls each of them by name and leads them out.
4When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice. 5The sheep will not follow strangers. They don't recognize a stranger's voice, and they run away.
6Jesus told the people this story. But they did not understand what he was talking about.
Jesus Is the Good Shepherd
I tell you for certain that I am the gate for the sheep. 8Everyone who came before me was a thief or a robber, and the sheep did not listen to any of them. 9I am the gate. All who come in through me will be saved. Through me they will come and go and find pasture.
10A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so everyone would have life, and have it fully.
Sometimes, the Christian life can be challenging. Increasingly, we are mocked for our beliefs. Sometimes we must choose a more difficult path, because the easy path is just wrong. Sometimes, going back to our old lives is tempting.
Recall John 9 for a moment: the blind man miraculously healed by Jesus. Remember that he stood up for Jesus, and then was cast out of the synagogue. After that, Jesus revealed even more about himself and now the man worships him.
But, of course, life goes on for the blind man, and it could be difficult, given that he cannot go to synagogue anymore, the center of Jewish life in his community.
For today’s devotion, we’re going to link John 9 and John 10 because it is very likely the same scene (look for yourself!).
So, what does Jesus say that applies to the blind man? “I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest” (v. 10b). The Pharisees, under whom the people sat and learned, were thieves who come “only to rob, kill, and destroy” (v. 10a). They demanded a righteousness that no one could ever achieve.
The old life wasn’t worth having. It was a destructive life.
You caught this, right? Jesus describes himself as the only gate to a full life. A life without Jesus isn’t worth living, because though there are easy parts of it, it is not as it appears.
There is a full life ahead for the man whose sight was restored, and there is a full life for us too. Even more comforting, he knows our voices, and we know his voice (vv 2-5). Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus will shepherd us … always.
Dear Heavenly Father, You provided a gate that you open for us. You did all this. We thank you for giving us a way to live with you. Please help us, as you promised, when life gets hard as Christians. In Jesus’ name, Amen.