Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Lay Down My Life

John 1:10-18

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of the fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

John 10 is predominantly the chapter discussing the sheep and the shepherd.

The Bible says: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6) And Jesus is describing this in this part of John 10.

We are all like sheep. We are. Sheep are not too bright; neither are we sometimes. We need God's wisdom, His Spirit, to understand the things of God. We need His Son Jesus to provide this wisdom. We need to be in relationship with Him, like Adam and Eve once were in relationship with God. Like what happened in the Garden, the thief, our enemy, satan, came to destroy that relationship, which ultimately removed our relationship also. We can so be like sheep and wander from God's truths.

To avoid the wiles of the devil we need a Savior. We need the guidance and correction of a good shepherd. As Isaiah stated we have all gone astray. But God...sent His only begotten Son to lay His life down for us. Jesus willingly laid down His life that we could all have life. Shepherds watched over their flocks. The good shepherd would sleep at the entrance to his sheepfold to protect them from the wolves and robbers. He was willing to lay down his life for the sheep. The Good Shepherd in real time does the same.

In the natural we haven't a clue. Until one day Jesus comes into our lives and opens our eyes to His truth, salvation, protection, wisdom. Because we are so like sheep and so prone to wandering, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, took all the sins imaginable...and unimaginable...upon His body when He was scourged and beaten. He endured the pain each of us as wandering sheep piled up in our lives. Imagine every one of everyone's sins all throughout history and those to come...imagine just your own. He bore them all. He laid down His life for each of us that we might have life.

We are to follow the One who laid down His life for us. Only in He is the truth. Jesus is our guide and protection for life. If we look to anyone else we will fall prey to the enemy...the hireling. He will take in anyone who has a desire for what He has to offer, any people, nationality, age. He is THE God of heaven. He alone has the power to save.

There are ministers, pastors, priests who are like the hireling. They don't care so much about the people, the sheep who need guidance, as they do about their own wallets, ministries, churches. This is very sad. It is why we need to go direct to our Shepherd, to Jesus, to receive all that is good. We are told we can have direct access to God. We do not need to go through anyone else. Actually, to do so is ineffective! Who knows the Father better? Who has the real power, man or Jesus?

Matthew 7:15 - Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

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