Sunday 15 May 2011

Bible Book:

"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (v. 10)

John 10:1-10 Sunday 15 May 2011


Within the Gospels, the shepherd's care for his sheep is afrequent theme and Jesus often shows compassion for the crowds thatgather around him, likening them to sheep without a shepherd. Heeven warns that there are those who would deliberately try to causeharm by pretending to be sheep. Jesus describes God's love and carefor all as that of a shepherd toward his sheep; a shepherd who isespecially keen to find those who might be lost. In this passagehowever, the shepherd is not seeking that which is lost, but iskeeping the sheep from all that is dangerous.

This passage has two parts to it - firstly (verses 1-6), it isabout the sheepfold as a place of safety where all are known by theone who cares for them and in turn all know him, and secondly(verses 7-10) about Jesus himself being the gate, or the way in.Not only is Jesus the gate through which the shepherds have to gothrough in order to reach the sheep, but he is also the gatethrough which the sheep come and go to find pasture. The shepherdsand the sheep know that the safest way in and out of the sheepfoldis through the gate and anyone trying to get in by other means willcause harm and destruction.

The final sentence of that passage is the total gift to us all - "Icome that they may have life, and have it abundantly". Even in asociety where 'me, myself and I' seem to be the order of the day,where self-expression and individualised pathways to everything arefrequently becoming enshrined in law and the rights of theindividual are paramount, do we really know what it means to havelife in abundance? Whilst it is easy to think of abundance aswealth, prosperity or plenteousness, abundance in the context oflife does not mean being materially rich and nor does it meanhaving too much of whatever it is your heart desires. To live inabundance means to know deep in the very core of your being thatyou are both safe and loved; and that you are loved so much thateverything else can be safely set aside to realise that love; thatthe gate through which you move in and out of your resting place tofresh pasture, new opportunities for growth and nourishment, is asafe gate and a gate by which all other things can bemeasured.

To Ponder

Where is your place of safety?

How is abundant living apparent in your lifetoday?

How might the gate as a measure of what islife-giving rather than life-denying be used in your life andliving?

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