Saturday, July 20, 2019

Object lesson

John 10:19-21…

Once again the words of Jesus bring division, even among those religious leaders who were against Him (cf. John 6:52, 7:12, 43, 9:16). The people present were beginning to realize that they could not just sit on the sidelines about Jesus and His seemingly impossible claims (John 10:17-18). Some in the audience recall the healing of the blind man, while others repeat the charges of demon possession, and accuse Him of insanity.

This is an object lesson; the mixed response to His words is exactly as Jesus said it would be. His sheep hear His voice, and they follow Him. Those who are not His sheep do not hear His voice, and they will not follow the Good Shepherd.

Some rightly reason that Jesus’ words must be judged in the light of His works. A demon possessed man would not speak and act as Jesus does. The miracle of healing the man born blind gave credibility to His words. Others dismiss Jesus and are quick to reject Him as their shepherd. Those who are opposed are intensified in their opposition. They are coming to steal, kill, and destroy (cf. John 5:18, 7:1, 19-20, 25, 8:37, 40, 10:10).

What do you believe? You can’t just set the claims of Jesus aside. He is either everything He says He is, or He is none of it. He claims exclusivity (John 14:6); He cannot be lumped in with other religions or their leaders (Acts 4:12 / 1 Timothy 2:5). He demands full allegiance. So what is it? Is He a liar, a lunatic, or Lord? 

Friday, July 19, 2019

The real deal

John 10:1-18…

Jesus is continuing His confrontation with the Pharisees (John 8:48, 52, 9:40-41, 10:20-21). He compares them to thieves and robbers. Illegitimate shepherds enter the sheepfold in illegitimate ways. There are always those who take authority but have not gotten it from God. Those that are truly God’s sheep will not follow another, but instead will flee. This was just illustrated by the fact that the man born blind refused to listen to the Pharisees, but turned to Jesus.

Many think this means that they cannot be deceived, but they presume upon their profession. It is not how well we are following it is who we are following that matters most. Many will faithfully follow a false shepherd and a false faith. But the true sheep will only follow the real Shepherd of the faith. The test is not about who is following but about who is being followed. The false shepherds will have many followers but no real sheep.

Jesus expands on what He has just said. He says the religious leaders of the day were not real shepherds of God, but emissaries of the enemy. They are in position only for their own pleasure, but Jesus was there for their protection and provision.

Jesus says the mark of a true shepherd is that he is fully invested in the sheep. The sheep know who their shepherd is; he cares for them, knows them by name, and will do anything to protect them. He willingly dies for them, while the hired hand withers at the sight of the wolves. 

Jesus indicated that His sheep may be scattered, but they will be brought in (cf. Acts 2:21 / Romans 10:13), the flock of faith would not consist of Jews only. Jesus was not performing some “plan b” of salvation for the sheep; it was the divine design of God. That’s the real deal. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Seeing is believing

John 9:35-41…

Jesus had taken the initiative to give this man physical sight (John 9:11). Now He would take the initiative to give him spiritual sight. The failure of the Pharisees and their religion was evident, as was the power of Jesus (John 9:30-33).

Do you believe in the Son of Man? The formerly blind man knew Jesus was God’s messenger, but now Jesus would reveal Himself as Messiah. This resulted in worship. The man who was blind could now see, both physically and spiritually.

For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind. Jesus came to save (John 3:17, 12:47), but in the process of His coming as the “Light of the world” (John 1:4, 8:12, 12:46), He exposed the sinfulness of men. Those who refuse the light remain in darkness.  There is no neutral position on the question of Jesus.

Are we also blind? The Pharisees thought of themselves as having spiritual vision. Jesus tells them that they are not lacking evidence of who He really is, but since they won’t receive it, they are indeed guilty of sin, and spiritually blind.   

People have enough evidence to turn from their sin and have faith in Christ. Yet most refuse to receive the Light. Because they think of themselves as capable judges of Jesus, they remain in spiritual darkness.  Their ideas of God are predicated on their own sinful predisposition.

If you go away just thinking that Jesus was a good man, or a prophet, or some ideal we can aspire to, without realizing who He really is, the Son of God and the Savior of the world, you are in grave danger. People think they can see clearly, but you cannot see what you are blind to.