John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And 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. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
Ownership is the hallmark of this Shepherd. He acts to find and save every one of the sheep He owns, wherever they are. He has committed to protect them from the wolf in shepherd’s clothing who would steal and scatter them. The Good Shepherd will bring the sheep to a place of safety where they may have life and have it abundantly.
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus clearly states “I am the good shepherd.” He has been given authority over His own life. It’s His choice to “lay it down” and to “take it up again” in order to fulfill “this charge I have received from my Father…one flock, one shepherd.
What does it say about people?
Our lives are not independent. We are all sheep in one “fold” or another. Circumstances make us vulnerable.
Is there truth here for me?
Circumstances are the “thief” of life; the wolf. Don’t listen to the thief! You will hear the Good Shepherd’s voice of abundant life, here and now, if you listen for His voice, because He says He already knows you!
John 10:27–28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Alexa! Hey Siri! OK Garmin! These are names associated with voice recognition technology that enables a machine or computer program to receive, interpret, understand and respond. Even if you personally have never used them, you’ve likely heard those names. I suggest there’s an even more important name associated with voice recognition technology…Jesus!
This verse from John is my evidence that God should be the one to get credit for what seems to be a “new” technology that enables those who follow his Son to receive, interpret, understand, hear, recognize…and follow the voice of their Shepherd…and he will respond, “I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” Listen! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain; Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim. Kings and kingdoms will all pass away but there’s something about that name. [Bill Gaither]
Justice: to support fair treatment and due reward.
This simple word pair, Justice and jurors was selected at the end of January to be my topic for this post. It’s coincided with the heartbreaking reality of the latest mass shooting of innocent young people and teachers this week in Parkland, Florida. I know I can trust God’s ultimate Justice [with a capital J] but I’m struggling to understand man’s priority of justice right now that allows assault weapons even to exist. To own an assault weapon is NOT a right. The right to own any gun is NOT more important than a life…EVER! There are no circumstances when those statements are not true, even with the assurance of personal rights to own a gun.
Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Each of us now find ourself in the position of having been designated one of the jurors: one of a group of persons sworn to deliver a verdict in a case submitted to them. Is owning a gun specifically designed to automate the killing of people more important than life?
What this widow was showing us is persistence and prayer are what we’ve been given to arm ourselves against judges that seem to fear the loss of guns more than the loss of life. “For some time he [the judge] refused. But finally he said to himself, Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”… And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says…”
Contact your Congressmen [click this link to find yours], share this post, speak to your friends and family whether or not they are gun owners. All the necessary evidence is already in. We know everything we need to know. Innocent people are dead! It’s time for a verdict of NO ASSAULT WEAPONS. Let’s persist with what we’ve been given to fight back with: prayer, the phone and the post office.
Posted in Luke, Practice, Sunday
Tagged And the Lord Said..., Fight Back, Innocent Lives, It’s Time, Jurors, Listen, Persist, Pray, Share, Sworn to Deliver a Verdict
• 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
• 9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Each morning I spend time reading scripture and writing hoping the “rest” of the story will help me find a voice for my faith today. Here’s what I wrote about this parable at first glance: ‘Jesus is the farmer who went out to sow his seed. The obvious comparisons are the different responses to what Jesus was speaking about the seed he was sowing.’
Good, that’s all true but I’m surprised to to discover I can still be surprised by the Bible. I’d been looking for a thread of connection between the words Jesus spoke about the path, the rocky soil and the thorns when I found this quote from William Temple.
“A parable is not a situation in which every detail stands for something but a situation in which one great idea leaps out and shines like a flash of lightning.”
BOOM…There it was! The truth wasn’t a subtle thread at all. Jesus was speaking! He spoke knowing some of his words would just be wasted, some would be temporary fixes and some would be rejected but this truth made speaking them worth the effort…”Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
…and if Jesus has given you seeds to sow, find your voice and speak.
“Just because I have listened carefully and intently to one thing from God does not mean that I will listen to everything He says.” From Devotion of Hearing by Oswald Chambers
These last few days I’ve spent some time thinking about what my goals are when I read the Bible. Sometimes I am unsure about what to read. I really am trying to “hear” what I read but nothing “speaks” to me. It seems presumptuous to look at God’s Word and say, “nope, not that” but I do that at times. Here’s the bottom line of even that very selective reading plan…I’m there and so is God.
It’s times like that when the devotional “words” of personal heroes of the faith like Oswald Chambers can be a welcome catalyst of direction. His title and simple confession I quoted above reminded me that even my written words can become a “devotion of hearing.” The secret is learning to be a better “listener” as I read what God has to say for himself…and write myself a note so I’ll remember.
Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV) Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Luke 11:28 (ESV) But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Hebrews 2:1 (ESV) Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.