Sunday 11 May 2014

Bible Book:

“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (vv. 9-10)

John 10:1-10 Sunday 11 May 2014


The idea of living a life ofabundance perhaps seems a little incongruous with the life of ashepherd - living and working on the hills in all weathers,sleeping under the stars, excluded from the comings and goings oflife in the towns.

The previous chapter of John's Gospel tellshow Jesus healed a blind beggar on a day that happened to be theSabbath (John 9:1-41), a day set aside for rest andreligious reflection, when work of all kinds was forbidden. Somereligious leaders were outraged and declared that Jesus must bedoing evil work, as they knew nothing about him. Meanwhile, the manwho had been blind saw and believed. Jesus told the religiousleaders that they were guilty precisely because they claimed toknow God's will - but were more than happy to prioritise rules andregulations over giving someone life in all its fullness throughthe miraculous gift of healing.

The sheep, Jesus says, will recognise thevoice of the true shepherd. He warns us that there will be otherswho will come like a thief in the night, leading the sheep astraywhile pretending to have their best interests at heart.

David, before he became a king, started outas a humble shepherd - the youngest in his family. If the sheepwere attacked by lions or bears, David would strike them down andrescue the sheep, putting his own life on the line. The goodshepherd in Jesus' story takes this dedication to the ultimateconclusion, as Jesus did indeed sacrifice his own life for hissheep - and "no one has greater love than this, to lay down one'slife for one's friends" (John15:13).

The Pharisees are often portrayed asmoustache-twirling villains - but in reality, it's all too easy tofixate on rules and procedures as an airtight way to ensure we are'doing the right thing' as Christians. But the shepherd doesn'tfight off bears and lions or lie down across the gate to the -sheepfold to keep out intruders because he's required to do so bythe rules - he does so out of love for his flock.

To Ponder

  • What motives can you attribute to the Pharisees (the religiousleaders who, in the story, come to steal and kill and destroy)?Were they really all that bad?
  • How can we have "life, and have it abundantly" in a worldfilled with inequality and poverty?

Previous Page Saturday 24 May 2014
Next Page Monday 12 May 2014