THE 89 DAY GOSPEL CHALLENGE
DAY SEVENTY-EIGHT JOHN TEN
The Twenty-Third Psalm is the best-known psalm and one of the most recognizable passages in all the Bible. It brings comfort and encouragement to the weary and the broken and celebrates a personal relationship with God.
David was probably king when he wrote it but he remembered his youth and his first job as a “tender of his father’s sheep.” He speaks of the shepherd duty from first-hand experience. The shepherd cares for the sheep (“I shall not want…”). He feeds the sheep, (“…he makes me to lie down in green pastures…”). He looks after the safety of the sheep (“… He leads me beside still waters…”). He encourages the sheep (“…He restores my soul…”) He leads the sheep (“…He leads me in the paths of righteousness…”). He never leaves the sheep alone (“…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil…”). He corrects and protects the sheep (“…your rod and your staff, they comfort me…”).
With all of this in mind, David did not say the Lord is a shepherd. He said, “The Lord is My shepherd.” He is up-close and personal. He is involved in our lives on a daily basis. He has given us prayer so He is never more than a prayer away.
John recorded Jesus’ discourse in this chapter where He declared, “I am the Good Shepherd and I give my life for My sheep.” In Hebrews 13:20 He is the “great Shepherd of the sheep” Who sanctifies us and makes us complete. In I Peter 5:3 Jesus is the Chief Shepherd Who will come for His sheep. In Revelation 7:16,17, He is the Lamb in the midst of the throne Who will shepherd us and lead us to living waters and wipe away all our tears.” Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Jesus overlooked Jerusalem and wept as He watched people, weary and scattered, moving with no direction and He said, “How often I would have gathered you to Myself, but you would not.” With extended heart and hand, He offers to be our Shepherd. Is He your Shepherd?
- Jesus: The True Shepherd (v. 1-6)
There is a big difference between a shepherd and a sheepherder. The shepherd leads the sheep because he has a relationship with the flock. The sheepherder drives the sheep because he is a stranger and a hireling.
In this paragraph, Jesus used the illustration of the sheepfold, a common pen in most towns used by different shepherds to keep their sheep safe at night. There was a doorkeeper to regulate the “comings and goings” of the flocks. Once the sheep were mixed together, there was no way to tell one flock from another.
Each shepherd had his “unique call” to gather his sheep. In the morning, a shepherd would come to the sheep pen and call his sheep. The sheep would hear the call of their shepherd, recognize his voice, and would separate themselves from the common flock to follow their shepherd.
In verse twenty-eight, Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.” Jesus calls believers out of the world to follow Him. We must listen and follow.
- Jesus: The Good Shepherd (v. 7-21)
“I am the Door. I am the only Way. Those who believe in Me will be saved and will find pasture, “a safe haven and home with Him.”
Others had come before and had deceived the people but they were all “robbers and thieves” who did not care for the sheep. The scribes and the priests and the Pharisees had led the mislead the people. They did not care for them. They only cared about their own selfish agendas.
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd. I give my life for the sheep.” When the wolves came, the hirelings would run and hide because they did not know the sheep. But the Good Shepherd stands and defends the sheep because the sheep are His. “I know my sheep and my sheep know Me. They follow Me!”
In verse sixteen Jesus said, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold.” He referred to Gentiles who would one day receive the Gospel. Jesus said, “I will draw them to Me. Then they, both Jew and Gentile, will be one flock.”
In verse eighteen Jesus said, “No man takes my life. But I will lay it down.” Jesus did not have to die for us. He was not constrained by the Father. He was not the victimized by the Pharisees. He was not overwhelmed by the Romans. He was not broken by Pilate. They did not overpower Him to nail Him to the cross. He extended His hands and received the nails that should have been ours. They did not take His life. He gave it!
But the cross would not be the end. Jesus said, “I can lay my life down but I can take it up again. I have the power.” He spoke here of His resurrection. Peter declared in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost that it was not possible for death to hold Jesus (Acts 2:22-24).
As always, there was a difference of opinion concerning Jesus. Some said He had a demon. Others reasoned more clearly. “Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
- Jesus: The Intimate Shepherd (v. 22-30)
“Now it was the Feast of Dedication” in the winter revealed that some time had passed. The Feast of Dedication is what we call Hanukkah, that celebrated the rededication of the Temple after it had been desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria, during the time of the Maccabees (approximately 164 B.C).
Solomon’s Porch was a colonnade on the east side of the Temple that provided some protection from the weather. Jesus was teaching there when the Jews asked Him directly, “Are you the Christ? Tell us plainly.”
Jesus told them, “I have told you before but you do not listen. You are not my sheep. If you were, you would hear Me and believe.” Then Jesus clearly told them:
1) “My sheep hear my voice and follow Me: (v. 27).
2) “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish” (v. 28)
3) “No one can pluck My sheep out of My hand (referring to the preservation of the saints)” (v. 28)
4) “My Father is greater than Me. No one can take them out of My Father’s hand” (v. 29)
5) “My Father and I are One” (v. 30).
Liberal theologians make the claim today that Jesus never said He was God. Apparently, they are not reading the same Bible I read. If you doubt He claimed to be God, consider the reaction to His last statement, “I and the Father are One.”
- The Jews seek to Stone Jesus (v. 31-39)
The Jews picked up stones to execute Him. Jesus asked, “For what good work are you do you with to stone Me?”
They replied, “Not for any good work you have done but because you, being a man, claim to be God.”
In verse thirty-four Jesus quoted from Psalm 82:6 which says, “I say, ‘You are gods; you are all children of the Most High.” This referred to the difference between believers and unbelievers in Israel, and the difference between Israel and the Gentiles.
Jesus continued, “Are you saying that I have blasphemed? The Father sent Me into the world. The Father is in Me and I am in the Father. If I do not the works of the Father, don’t believe Me.” He confirmed what He had earlier said, “That He and the Father were One.” He is the Son of God!
They again sought to kill Him, but He walked away.
- The Return to the Jordan (v. 40-42)
Jesus left Jerusalem and returned to the area where John the Baptist had preached and baptized beyond the Jordan River. Many came from all around to hear Jesus and witness Him heal many. The people remembered what John had said about Jesus, that He was the Lamb of God and Messiah. And the people agreed that everything John had said about Jesus was true.
Good Friday service is tomorrow at 7:00 PM. Come and remember Jesus’ sacrifice and celebrate our salvation.
Love to all!