Wednesday, April 4, 2012

John 10 Introduction

As we come to one of my favorite chapters, I thought we might need an introduction first. When I was a substitute teaching leader in Bible Study Fellowship, I had the privilege to teach on this chapter. There is so much here!

This life of a shepherd was something with which Jesus’ audience was very familiar. There are so many references to sheep and shepherds in the Bible! Jon Courson writes of the fact that not only were David and Moses both shepherds, but “Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, and Zechariah all drew analogies from sheep and shepherds.” (Application Commentary: New Testament, P. 520)

Courson describes the garments and tools of a shepherd of Jesus’ day. He would wear a cotton tunic with a leather cord belt. He hung a sling from the belt, along with a pouch that carried dried fruit or small stones. The sling was used as a weapon against small predators as well as a method for drawing the sheep back into the fold. Remember that David used his sling to take down Goliath.

The shepherd also carried a club or rod that was a weapon against predators. The rod also worked to correct behaviors of straying sheep. If a lamb was continually wandering off, the shepherd used it to break the one of the legs of the lamb. Then he would carry the lamb across his shoulders while the leg healed. The bonding between shepherd and lamb during this time would guarantee that the lamb would not stray again. And finally, the shepherd carried a staff with a hook at one end to help him hook sheep headed in the wrong direction. You can see already why God calls us His sheep! We are prone to wander! This analogy is one with which we can very easily identify - even if we aren’t familiar with the life of a shepherd!

The wonderful old hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” has a verse that I just love:

O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,

Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above.

We are in such need of a Shepherd who will keep us from wandering! It is in our nature to go our own way. How amazing that Jesus used this analogy to remind us that God deals with us always in grace and love, doing all He needs to do to keep us by His side.

Tomorrow we’ll get into this passage. But for now, for a special treat, here’s a link so you can listen to this lovely version of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” You'll need to copy and paste it, because I have no idea how to make it a live link in a blog!  :)



No comments:

Post a Comment