Day 79 – John 10:1-20

Three In One.

John 10:1-20

“No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” – John 10:18 NLT

The Gate. The Good Shepherd. The Sacrificial Lamb. Within this short segment of Scripture, Jesus refers to Himself using three different analogies. Each carries with it a different and important aspect of what Jesus role as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. He is the Gate. It is only through Him that anyone can have access to the Father. He is the Gate through which the sheep may enter into a right relationship with their heavenly Father. It reminds me of the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths” (Psalm 23:1-3 NLT). Later on, in this same Gospel, John will record these words of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NLT). He is the Way. He is the Gate. There is no other. And He leads the way to a rich and satisfying life. The enemy has no such intention. He wants to kill, steal and destroy. He wants to offer ways which lead to death. He wants to offer counterfeit doors that never end up getting you where you think you’re going.

But Jesus is not only the Gate for the sheep, He’s the Good Shepherd. Unlike the religious leaders of His day, Jesus cared for the sheep because they belonged to Him. These other men were merely hirelings at best, and thieves and robbers at worst. They didn’t really care for the sheep. They cared only for themselves. In referring to Himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus is obviously referencing Ezekiel 34. The prophet had some scathing words against the leaders of Israel in his day. “What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them” (Ezekiel 34:2-6 NLT). And God was not done. He went on to warn these so-called shepherds, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey” (Ezekiel 34:10 NLT).

Then God tells what He will do for His sheep. “I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice!” (Ezekiel 34:11-16 NLT). God said He would, and He did. He sent His own Son, as the Good Shepherd. He came to provide justice for the sheep of God. And He would do it by laying down His own life on their behalf. Jesus would be the Sacrificial Lamb. Jesus clearly said, “I sacrifice myself for the sheep” (John 10:15 NLT). In fact, Jesus stated the His Father loved Him “because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again” (John 10:17 NLT). Jesus would voluntarily lay down His life as a substitute and payment for the sins of all mankind. He wasn’t forced against His will. He volunteered for the job. It is all in keeping with the words of John the Baptist uttered at the appearance of Jesus at the beginning of His earthly ministry: “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NLT).

The Gate. The Good Shepherd. The Sacrificial Lamb. Jesus did it all. He encompasses the complete package. He alone makes it possible for men to be restored to a right relationship with God the Father. He alone meets the just demands of a holy God for a payment for the sins of mankind. He alone could live a sinless, spotless, completely obedient life so that He might be a suitable substitute for sinful men. He alone provides an access point to eternal life. He alone is the Good Shepherd who truly cares for the sheep more than He cares for Himself. He alone is selfless, sacrificial, and totally committed to the well-being of the sheep. He did it all. And He did it all for us.

Lord, You are amazing. It is hard to comprehend just how amazing You really are. Everything we know about salvation and the gift of grace that You have made available is of Your doing. Your Father sent You, but You are the one who had to leave heaven and take on human flesh. You are the one who had to live a life among those whom You created, and tolerate their abuse, ridicule and, ultimately, their rejection. You are the one who had to live a sinless life among a world saturated with evil and a people in love with sin more than the thought of a Savior. You are the one who had to die a criminal’s death, when You had committed no sins. You did it all. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You! Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

2 thoughts on “Day 79 – John 10:1-20

  1. Pingback: Lenten Reflection for Wed 3/20/2013 | The Ship's Blog

  2. Pingback: Attitude of shepherds « daily meditation

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