John 10 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson
This is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible. I love this section in John because this points to a special relationship believers have with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus is describing something common to the people of his era. Jesus was the greatest communicator. I just used the word ontological in a recent sermon. Jesus wouldn’t do that nor did He. He used words like farmer, son, seed, coin, sheep, wolves, goat, light, door, journey, field, etc. Everyone could understand Him. And no one was more profound yet simple, easy to listen to but piercing in his judgments, and kind, yet in some ways, brutal to hypocrites.
A holding pen is where various shepherds keep their sheep in one big area for the night. There might be several different flocks in this one area surrounded by a rock fence. First, Jesus says others try to be sheep but try to climb by another way are thieves and robbers. Ezekiel 34 might be the background for this chapter. Ezekiel 34 is a fascinating chapter where he ends it by quoting God, “You are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God. “ Jesus is aiming for leaders who do not love or serve their flock. In verse 2, the legitimate shepherd is known by the gatekeeper. He calls his sheep. The shepherd would call his sheep and hearing their shepherd’s voice would follow him. The other sheep would not follow a strange voice. The shepherd even calls them individually by name.
I remember my grandfather who had a farm in Cedar Springs, MI. When he called his cows, he would yell, “Caboss, Caboss.” I doubt it had any meaning. He probably heard his father use that call. But the cows would slowly make their way into the barn. They knew it was time to come in.
Sheep know the shepherd’s voice. They trust the shepherd because he/she leads them to water, food, and protects them. A shepherd was not an easy job. You don’t leave work at night. You stay with the sheep no matter what the weather, how you feel, or if you are tired. Shepherds know the sheep because they watch them 24/7.
Jesus claims to be the door of the sheep. All that God has for us is found in Christ. There is no other way to God (John 14:6). Once again, we see that God, in the person of Christ, is a giver – giving life. He is a protector – lays down His life for His sheep (v. 11). Jesus calls us His very own. He refers to all believers as His flock in the following verses.3, 4, 5, 11, 14-16, 27, 29. The sheep are part of the shepherd’s flock. The sheep belong to the Shepherd. The term “flock” speak to a line or demarcation of who is in the flock and who is not. Here are some aspects of the sheep that will be helpful to you.
The sheep have been given to the Son by the Father according to v. 29
The sheep know the shepherd 3, 5, 14, 27
Shepherd knows the sheep v. 3, 14-15, 27
Therefore, they are secure vs. 10-12, 15, 28-29
They will never perish v. 28
I have noticed how some people are open to spiritual things and some are not. Some feel that God is a taker, a Being that is against them, that He is not a concern to them. But there are those, by God’s grace, that want more of Him – even right from the start. In the book called The Horse and his boy by C. S. Lewis, Shasta faces Aslan (a Christ like figure in these books) and, according to the narrator, “A new and different sort of trembling came over Shasta. Yet he felt glad too.” When Aravis, his companion, meets Aslan, she proclaims, “You’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner by eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”
When the Pevensie children first hear about Aslan from Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, their reactions come from their hearts: “Each of the children felt something jump in his inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror [Peter betrays his siblings]. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. In The Magician’s Nephew, the song Aslan sings during creation “made you want to rush at other people and either hug them or fight them.” Uncle Andrew and Jadis’ reaction to Aslan fall into the second camp – hating God.
Lewis captures what the Bible portrays. Our initial reaction to God is a revealer of our heart. He is altogether good and lovely. We should be drawn to him as sheep to a trusted shepherd. But when He seeks Adam and Even in the garden, they hid from Him. Instead of seeking God, they run away from Him.
In v. 16, Christ is already thinking and speaking to His disciples about more sheep that will be joining His flock, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So, there will be one flock, one shepherd.” Christ is always thinking about seeking the lost
Not surprisingly, the Jews are divided over Jesus’ words. They begin to ask Him questions in v. 24. Jesus boldly responds with v. 26, “. . . but you do not believe because you are not among My sheep.” Later He plainly declares, “I and the Father are one.”
Lord, we sometimes act as if we do not think You and the Father are one. We are bored with Your Word and find better things to do than to attend worship. We put You in “Your” place like an elf on a shelf. Forgive our neglect of Your word and the gospel. Remind us that our worth that comes from You. Lift our heads to all the ways we can serve You by serving others. As we read the Scriptures, may we hear Your voice and then give us power to obey. In the great Shepherd’s name, Amen.