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The Full Life

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The Full Life

John 10:1–10 ESV
1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Context is everything. In the previous chapter, the big question is, “Is Jesus the Son of God or not? Is He the Messiah?” He has given sight to a man born blind, and after that man was grilled by the Pharisee authorities, Jesus asks the man born blind what he thinks. Who am I? The conclusion is that not only has the man’s physical sight been given, but his spiritual sight has been restored as well. He sees who Jesus really is. Yet, the pharisees who could see all along had no idea.
And Jesus says it is precisely because they believe they can see!
So in this context, Jesus introduces a parable about sheep and the shepherd. Is there a reason for this being placed here? Of course, John has a reason.
In scripture, the shepherd and the sheep are often referring to the king and his people. It is referring to the fact that the true king would intimately know his people- he wouldn’t sit on a throne removed from his people= He would be with them.
Recently the Queen of England came out with a statement about the coronavirus and the effect is having in England. The queen doesn’t come out all that often- when she speaks, it is because there is something to be concerned about. She is not seen in everyday life, she is quite removed from the people of England in the sense of her status and nobility.
A shepherd, on the other hand, gets into the dirt with the sheep. the shepherd sleeps with the sheep, eats with the sheep, and probably dreams about sheep. That’s the biblical picture of the king and his kingdom.
And that is exactly what John wants us to see. The real king will be with His people.
And this is the picture that Jesus chooses to talk about Himself. He is the shepherd, he does come to his own, He knows them by name. They are his. intimately.
This is Jesus’ question in a nutshell: Do you see why I am the king?
This parable is designed to say these things. I’m doing what a king would do- I’m restoring what needs restored. My claim to be sent by God as Israel’s true king is valid precisely because I’m in the thick and thin of it with my people and they hear me and they are choosing to follow me. In the thick of it all.
One of the hardest parts of preaching in a parking lot is that you can’t see faces. In the sanctuary, you can see if you’re connecting with folks. Headlights are poker faces. I can’t see through most windshields, and some of you may be doing the Sunday crossword puzzle for all I know on Sunday morning.
Jesus’ parable was that way for some of his listeners.
Listen to it again, at least the first five verses.
John 10:1–5 ESV
1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Headlights.; Crickets.
John 10:6 ESV
6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So Jesus goes a little further. The shepherd is the gate or the door. Many shepherds would sleep at the gate to their sheep pen at night to prevent sheep from getting out and enemies from getting in. The shepherd is all about being sure the sheep are taken care of … not just that they are safe, but that they are provided for.
Remember Psalm 121.8
Psalm 121:8 ESV
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Be sure you get this point. The shepherd is not sleeping with one eye open to protect the sheep. He isn’t doing a crossword puzzle while listening for the sheep. He’s full on, game ready, caring for the sheep.
Listen close to what Jesus says to explain to those who didn’t get the parable, it’s in John 10.7-10,
John 10:7–10 ESV
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
The others are thieves and robbers- they’re looking out for themselves. But the true shepherd, or true king?
He is going to save you, He is going to show you the best pastures, and He is going to give you the best abundant life you could ever expect to have.
When you find that shepherd, that king- who looks out for you at His own expense- you’ve found the real deal. That’s what God’s shepherd looks like that is what God’s king looks like.
Bottom Line:

The Way Provides Reveals Who He Is.

If there’s anything that has been starkly revealed to me through the current pandemic situation it is this: Material things cannot fulfil a real need of the human heart.
We long for relationship. Face to face, heart to heart relationships where we see each other both physically and emotionally and spiritually. And we don’t have that. All of our money and cars and things seem to fail us in this regard.
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