19 April – Additional Notes

JOHN 10: HOW TO FARM SHEEP

It’s difficult not to mention the loss of our son when all of life has changed, including our worldview. For one thing, we had to believe that when Michael’s Maker said: “‘…For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…’” [Jeremiah 29:11] – He meant what He said. And, He was saying it to every generation of those reading His epic storyline. So, Father God had plans for our Mikey, and those plans to prosper him and give him a future are still as real as the Creator God is – even though they’re not here, where we can see them unfolding in the same way that other parents can.

Therefore, in line when the whole storyline, as far back as the days of Jacob (the Father of the Nation of Israel) who said…

“If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God.” [Genesis 28:20-21]

…the Creator God has proven Himself, time and again, as a Good Shepherd for His “sheep”. The proof is documented from beginning to end – from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation. He’s 100% faithful to provide for, protect, and lead His people. When they asked for a king to be like all the other nations, for example, it wasn’t because the world’s only Theocratic system of governance wasn’t reliable. They wanted a king to march out before them, which is to say, they were rejecting Father God as shepherd who leads His sheep.[a]

By the 1st Century AD, Jesus uses this metaphor again to explain how I can spot a fake shepherd. [v1] If the gateway is the Creator’s word from the beginning, then the One who fulfils God’s word is the One that I should listen to. [v2-3] The One who goes ahead of me “breaking the ice”, “cutting the path” and “pathing the way” back to Father God, is the One to follow. [v4]

Although there are plenty of people out there who want to lead while others follow, the sign for knowing who’s the true shepherd, is in who’s prepared to lay down their life for the sheep. [v11-13]  I can’t even have this philosophe as an attitude or style of leadership, when leading a team in my everyday workplace, much less do it for real! Jesus spoke metaphorically and then He did it for real.

Having said that, one could argue that dying at the hands of the Romans, wasn’t hard in those days. But Jesus’ death continues to impact millions of lives 2,000 years after the event. So, looking into the future, Jesus also speaks prophetically for the first time about other sheep “not in this pen”, and that these are part of one flock with one shepherd. [v16] If the “pen” is the original Jewish nation, then Jesus knew before He died that His voice would extend beyond the geographic area where He lived and moved.[b] He’ll be leading a global flock too. But while this can be said of many religious leaders in history, the direction that He’s heading in, is utterly unique to Jesus. He’s the only one in history whose followers are destined for Eternal LIFE. [v27-29]

Whatever lay ahead of Jesus, in order to accomplish Father God’s plans for the sheer size and numbers involved in a global flock, Jesus was in full control. [v14-18] He could have slipped from their grasps, for example, just as He’s done several times in John’s book so far.[c] But in fulfilment of the ancient prophecy, Jesus was led like a lamb to the slaughter.[d] Again, the religious experts were divided between those who could hear truth in His voice, and those who couldn’t. [v19-21]

Unlike the other biographers of Jesus’ story, John moves swiftly through the 33 years of His life and the three years of intense ministry. In ten short chapters, John brings us in a full circle around to Hanukkah – the Feast of Dedication that’s also known as the Festival of Light. In other words, it was Christmas, and Jesus was walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. [v22] I wonder if He was getting a quiet moment alone with Father God on His birthday – the day He came as the Light of the World[e], and fully dedicated to fulfilling God’s word by doing God’s Will. [v25]

Trouble wasn’t far away and Jesus’ nostalgic moment was interrupted with the one burning question: was He the one who was to come, as the script said He would. [v24] But answering them plainly (that a Son who is everything that He should be, would be “One” with His Father) as simple as that seems, meant that He was putting His life at risk! [v31-33]

So, yet again, Jesus answered with another piece of new information. Woven into the Creator God’s epic storyline, is Psalm 82, and the status of human image-bearers is beginning to take shape. As living, walking images of the God of Creation, we are “gods”.[f]

Wow! Ok… this is either dropping into Greek Mythology or else, it makes perfect sense. In which case, this Psalm isn’t just a nice song of poetry and imagery but it’s, as Jesus said, part of Divine Law. [v34] And, just like the Law of Relativity, the Law of Probability and the Law of Physics, this Law of Divinity isn’t just demonstrating the gravity of being specifically created in God’s Image in order to rule[g], it highlights the enormity of what Jesus came to do for humankind, as the firstborn among many.[h]

However, knowing how to farm sheep that have a track record for running off in all sorts of directions, our Shepherd doesn’t say much in the handbook about what our “redeemed state” will be, in His Kingdom. Nor is there much on how we’ll function as fully-operational eternal image-bearers. After all, this topic is what got us all into trouble in the first place![i] At the very least, having been set apart and born into humanity would make Jesus a son of God. [v36] But His identity as THE Son of God is seen in what He came to do. [v37-38]

Not getting any further with the religious leaders, Jesus retreated back into the arms of the Great Shepherd – to where His Father confirmed His calling and commissioned Him in the first place, Bethany beyond the Jordan.[j] It’s the place where Jesus first set out on His journey to round up The Great Shepherd’s global flock. [v40-42]

CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”

[a] 1 Samuel c8 (Referring to v7,8,19&20)

[b] Exodus 23:21-22a

[c] John 5:13; 8:59; 10:39 and 12:36

[d] Isaiah 53:7-12; Jeremiah 11:19 (See also Acts 8:32-33)

[e] Isaiah 9:2

[f] Psalm 82:6

[g] Genesis 1:26

[h] Romans 8:29

[i] Genesis 3:5

[j] John 1:28-34; Matthew 3:16-17; Mark1:10-13; Luke 3:21-22;

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Daily Breadcrumbs

Sign-Up!

Visitors