Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 10 November 20:
John 10:1-5, 14-16, 27-28 — “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. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers…. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
John 10:7, 9 — So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep…. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
By describing Himself as both the Good Shepherd and also the Door of the sheepfold, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that there is only one way to salvation – through Him and with Him — “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) There aren’t many paths to God, only one, and religion that doesn’t proclaim exclusively the Gospel of Christ is false and antichrist – “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son…. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (1 John 2:22; 2 John 1:7)
The Divinity and exclusivity of Christ has always been a divisive truth, unacceptable and intolerable to many – “There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, ‘He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?’ Others said, ‘These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’” (John 10:19-21) Jesus knew the trouble that would come to those who spoke the truth of His Sovereignty – “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)
Jesus explained why some refuse to accept Him: “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…. My Father… has given them to me.” (John 10:25-27, 29) Only by the Father’s will and the enabling of the Holy Spirit can someone accept Jesus Christ as Savior and hear His voice – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…. I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:44, 65) “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” It takes courage to proclaim the exclusivity of the Gospel before a hostile world, but this is our calling on earth – “And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.” (Mark 13:10) “Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” (Luke 10:3) “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16) You have no idea how God will use you to reach one of His sheep. Be strong and courageous.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 10 November 20: Proclaim the truth of the Gospel today though it will be offensive to many.