Have you had moments when you are reading the Bible and you realise that God is giving you a fresh insight into Scripture which you have read before?
It happened to me today as I was reading chapter 10 of the book of John where Jesus gives the analogy of a good shepherd and his sheep.
Until now, my understanding of this chapter had been pretty basic. I was focused only on the fact that just like the sheep know their shepherd’s voice, so we as followers of Jesus, should be able to discern and recognize His voice when He speaks to us, and not be confused or misled by “a stranger’s voice”, for example, false teachings and the lure of worldly exhortations, among other things. (“But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:5 (NIV) )
In today’s reading of the chapter, however, I learned a bit more about the nature of Jesus. Just like the shepherd who genuinely looks after the welfare of his flock, Jesus is faithful and has our best interest in His heart.
John 10:2 (NIV)
“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.”
Jesus has the legitimate authority over His people. He is the one in whom we can trust.
John 10:3 (NIV)
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
Jesus knows us personally (even by our name). We are all special to Him and we matter to Him. He cares enough to guide us and to lead us through life.
John 10:4 (NIV)
“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
Jesus leads our way by stepping out ahead of us. Even when we are going through difficult times, we can be assured that He has already made a way for us. All we need to do is to follow Him in faith.
John 10:9-10 (NIV)
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Through Jesus, we not only experience salvation, but also freedom and security without fear ruling our lives (“come in and go out”). We also enjoy rest and sustenance (“pasture”). I like the fact that Jesus says “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” When Jesus arrives into our life, we will experience a life that is eternal, meaningful and abundant.
John 10:11 (NIV)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Jesus cares for us. His love for us is real and not superficial so much so that He made the sacrifice for us on the cross and died for our sins. All we need to do is to believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour .
John 10:17-18 (NIV)
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 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.”
Jesus has the authority to lay down His life and take it up again. No one can take His life forcefully but He lays it down of His own accord. Jesus is in charge, and being God, rightfully so.
Let us therefore rely on Jesus and place our trust in Him. Like the good shepherd in the parable, He will never let us down.