Jesus spent much of His time in ministry subtly, and not so subtly, pointing out that He was the Messiah. Sadly, many Israelites missed the clues. The religious leaders seemed to suspect the truth, but were unwilling to accept it, lest their power and influence be diminished.
In today’s reading, Jesus made two statements that powerfully declared, “I am the Messiah”.
He spoke first about entering via the sheep gate. If you recall from Day 6, the Sheep Gate was a familiar place. The Israelites entered this gate to bring their sacrifices, many of which were sheep. Jesus was proclaiming Himself as the way, the gate, through which to be saved; this was exactly the role of the Messiah as foretold through prophecy.
When He said He was the Good Shepherd, Jesus declared He would willingly lay down His life for the sheep. He would then take it up again, as commanded by the Father, in order to prove victory over Sin and Death forever.
On this side of the resurrection, many of us know Jesus as the prophesied Messiah. We are the sheep who will enter eternity in heaven because of the gate, Jesus. We should be like sheep who learn to listen intently to and for the Shepherd’s voice. They follow His instruction because He has proven Himself a worthy and loving Shepherd.
In the same way, we should be listening in our hearts for the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. The Jews who did not believe Jesus was Messiah, were the ones whom Jesus described as not recognizing His voice. Those who did recognize it, knew Him and followed Him, and were kept safe for all eternity.
Sisters, let us be the sheep who develop such a deep, abiding relationship with Jesus that we recognize His voice, know Him and follow Him in whatever He calls us to do.
1) Be a scribe and copy the precious words of Scripture down word for word. Make space in your journal to write down a few verses from John 10 that grab your attention as you read. As you copy, lookup a cross reference or two as you come to them (they are the small letters next to certain words in your study Bible or online at www.biblia.com). As you write, think of the incredible gift it is to be invited into God’s presence through His word!
2) Choose one of these options to radiate Jesus’ love to others as you hold tightly to the anchoring truth of the eternal confidence we have only through Christ!
a) Pitch in to do something extra at church. Whether it’s helping with cleanup, opening doors, trimming weeds, or offering to help in a child’s classroom, step up to loving deeper by serving in a new way.
b) A note of genuine kindness and specific encouragement goes a long way in showing love and support to your pastor. Consider sending your pastor(s) an email or card!
c) Check out some local ministries in your area and make plans to serve with them for an afternoon. Maybe it’s organizing school donations, serving soup, or stuffing backpacks for kids. Even better, get some friends to join you!
d) Prayer walking is a simple way to begin shifting the eyes of your heart to truly see others. Walk around your neighborhood, some city streets, the aisles of your grocery store, or intentionally sit at a local coffee shop and pray, pray, pray. Pray for the people around you, pray for hearts to turn towards Jesus, pray for your own heart to be ready to share the full gospel if given the chance. Don’t worry about seeing results, that’s God’s job!
e) Strike up a conversation with a random stranger. It may move to spiritual topics, it may not, but showing love to those outside our immediate circles always begins with a simple conversation. “What have you been doing today?” “Do you live nearby?” “Where do you go to church?” “What are your favorite local restaurants?” “What a cute handbag! Where did you get it?” These open-ended questions work well!
3) Share the exciting, bold ways you are living out your eternal confidence today with the rest of the GT Community! Our Facebook community page is always open! Or snap a photo and tag us on Instagram @gracefully_truthful
4) Memorize John 12:25-26
“Truly I tell you, anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus gave them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. 13 This happens because he is a hired hand and doesn’t care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 But I have other sheep that are not from this sheep pen; I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
19 Again the Jews were divided because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and he’s crazy. Why do you listen to him?” 21 Others were saying, “These aren’t the words of someone who is demon-possessed. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
22 Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in my Father’s name testify about me. 26 But you don’t believe because you are not of my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone him.
32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these works are you stoning me?”
33 “We aren’t stoning you for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because you—being a man—make yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, I said, you are gods? 35 If he called those to whom the word of God came ‘gods’—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say, ‘You are blaspheming’ to the one the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God? 37 If I am not doing my Father’s works, don’t believe me. 38 But if I am doing them and you don’t believe me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father.” 39 Then they were trying again to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
40 So he departed again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. 41 Many came to him and said, “John never did a sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!