Friday, April 6, 2012

John 10:7-10

The joy of a teacher is seeing the “light go on” in a student’s eyes when he finally “gets” what you’ve been trying to teach! It is the reason we hang in there. But, when you get blank stares back from students who DON’T understand the concept you are teaching, you can become so discouraged. So you try coming at the topic in a different way to engage such students.

But what really is upsetting is seeing blank stares from students who have been doing everything BUT pay attention. They haven’t even been trying! They have been fiddling with things in their desks, taking apart pens, drawing on their hands, writing notes, distracting others around them, or staring into space. These are the same kids who consistently don’t complete homework. For some of these, it is because they have home issues - parents recently divorced, dad’s in jail, mom’s homeless. Others struggle with attention deficit disorder. It’s hard to be angry with them (although you may want to shoot their parents). Whatever the reason, it sucks all of the joy out of teaching when students aren’t actively engaged in the learning and they just don’t try to learn. It makes you want to give up!

We see here in John 10 a similar situation. Verse 6 tells us that after giving them the analogy of the shepherd, “they did not understand what he was telling them.” Some COULD NOT understand, but most WOULD NOT understand. Did He want to give up? Was He frustrated? We don’t know how He felt at this point, but we do know that He didn’t give up! He didn’t say, as Jon Courson suggests, “You dumb sheep. How can you miss this obvious picture? I’m going to write you off.” Instead, we read that He tried AGAIN:

Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:7-10).

Here Jesus uses the metaphor of that gate at the entry to the sheepfold. He is saying the HE is the shepherd who is the watchman - guarding the flock so that no thief enters and no sheep leaves. Once those sheep entered His sheepfold, they were safe!

“Whoever enters through me will be saved.” Saved from what? Well, primarily from an eternity in Hell, forever separated from the presence of God! That would be enough! “But wait! There’s more!” It’s not just the “hereafter” that is included in the package. It’s salvation from a wasted life, a life spent following the thief. It’s salvation from a life spent for self. It’s salvation from all of those sins that weigh us down and destroy what we were created to become. And it is salvation INTO an abundant life NOW.

While Satan comes to “steal, kill, and destroy,” Jesus came that we “may have life and have it to the full.” Who wouldn’t want that? And yet, many choose to ignore or outright reject Jesus’ claims and go right on following the thief. It’s heart-breaking! It’s such a waste of a life! These people miss out not only on an abundant, joy-filled life here and now, but they give up eternal life with God. Jesus claims here that HE is the gate or door to the protected sheepfold. We must enter through Him alone. We’ll see next week that those who enter, enter into complete rest and safety!

Today is Good Friday. It’s the day we reflect on what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. It’s the day we think about the tortuous death He died in our place - to SAVE us from OUR sin. It’s called “Good” Friday, because He finished the job on the cross! The debt was paid once and for all. Easter Sunday celebrates the proof that God accepted His sacrifice: the EMPTY tomb! Hallelujah, What a Savior! May we truly understand and receive the gift!

Happy Easter!

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