This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 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. 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.
One of the many great passages in the book of John. Probably 2-3 sermons in these 10 verses alone. I will just point out a few things that drew my attention as I pondered the passage.
1) Jesus starts off by saying “I tell you the truth.” Of course we would expect nothing less from Jesus. But we are so used to being lied to by people and the world that it is hard to believe that someone will ALWAYS tell us the truth. Jesus will do this because He IS the Truth!
2) Jesus is both the gate for the sheep and the shepherd of the sheep. Not only must we enter through Him (as the gate) to be saved but we must also follow Him( as the shepherd) to find safety.
3) One of the greatest promises in all of Scripture is found in verse 10: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus wants his followers to experience the richness of life not the riches of life. He wants us to live satisfied lives – not dismayed, discontented, or distraught. He wants us to live with purpose and mission – not aimless and wayward.
4) But verse 10 also gives us one of the greatest warnings in Scripture: “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.” The key word to me in this dire warning is only. Often we are deceived into believing that God is holding out on us and that a little dance with the devil might be fun and fulfilling. But if we are to believe that Jesus ALWAYS tells us the truth then we need to understand that Satan’s agenda is ONLY to steal, kill, and destroy.
5) Those who belong to Jesus are intent on listening to His voice. If we are His, then it is His voice that captures our attention. It is His voice that we hearken and obey. We will filter out all the noises and distractions of the world around us and do whatever it takes to hear what He is saying. Why? Because we know that He ALWAYS tells us the truth.
6) Not only do those who belong to Jesus clamor to hear His voice but they also “will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Unfortunately we are not so quick to run away. We linger and listen to “the stranger’s pitch” and see what he has to offer. And before we have a chance to realize what is happening the stranger sets his hook and reels us in and the next thing you know we are being fried up and battered. It is imperative to RUN. Not doing so is just an invitation to the devil to do with us as he pleases. But never forget – his agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy.
I hope you have been intent to ponder these passages we are looking at. They are so rich with truth, promise, and application. And I hope you have also been intent in memorizing the Scripture verses – they will help you to combat and run away from the stranger’s voice and make listening to the shepherds voice that much more familiar to you.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Matthew 16:24-28
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Matthew 16:24