FAITH BLOG

TO "SHEEP OR NOT TO SHEEP"

John 10:22-30   “At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,  and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.  So the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered them, “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.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus calls us sheep?  I think it’s because of what they are and who they depend on for everything.  By their very nature, they are followers and depend on their shepherd for everything,  What do Jesus’ sheep do.  John 10:27 says Jesus’ sheep, hear His voice, He knows them, and they follow Him.  Sounds pretty simple doesn't it.  We listen to Him, He knows us and we follow Him.  

The Jews had the biggest question for Jesus anyone could have possibly asked.  “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Sounds like a simple request doesn't it? The Old Testament predicted the Messiah would come as a Shepherd, but the Jews had a different kind of Messiah they were looking for. What kind are you looking for?    

I love the way  Albert Barnes’ in his notes on the NT explains verse 27... 

“27. My sheep. My church, My people, those who have the true spirit of My followers. The name is given to His people because it was an illustration which would be well understood in a country abounding in flocks. There is also a striking resemblance, which He proceeds to state, between them. 

Hear my voice. See John 10:3, 4. Applied to Christians, it means that they hear and obey his commandments.  I know them. See John 10:14.  They follow me. A flock follows its shepherd to pastures and streams, John 10:3. Christians not only obey Christ, but they imitate Him; they go where His Spirit and providence lead them; they yield themselves to His guidance, and seek to be led by Him. When Jesus was upon earth many of His disciples followed or attended Him from place to place. Hence Christians are called His followers, and in Rev. 14:4 they are described as “they that follow the Lamb.” (bold mine)

In the next few verses Jesus lays out what His sheep receive when they follow Him.  “He gives them eternal life, and they shall never perish and no one can snatch them out of His hands”. And just in case they missed it, He repeats it in the next verse again. 

“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”

It's good to be a sheep!

Posted by Jerry Hull with

TO THOSE WHO WAIT UPON THE LORD...

I have been doing a lot of reading in the Psalms lately. There are so many references to ‘those who wait on the Lord’. I find waiting on the Lord difficult. Especially when it comes to resolving a conflict. I dislike conflict very much and I dislike being rejected very much too - in fact to a fault. My actions and motivations can be manipulated by those feelings of being rejected and being in conflict. I have been working through some patterns of conflict resolution in the last year with my husband. Not an easy task.

My husband and I were recently talking about ‘waiting and conflict’ and I mentioned how I’d been talking to the Lord about when to confront, if I confront, when is the Lord asking me to just ‘wait’, suffer the pain of conflict -‘waiting’ for the Lord to bring about ‘growth’ in the other person, accepting it as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to endure. In our relationship, what usually happened, is I’d apologize, seek forgiveness for my wrong and ‘wait’, ‘suffer’, stuffing away my pain and hurt, waiting for God to work in ‘his’ heart, (oh so holy - NOT)… I eventually would end up spewing out a lot of unresolved conflict. How long do I ‘wait’ for the other person to come around and own their part… it is a real struggle for me to confront those closest to me because I feared being rejected and I certainly have no guarantee what their response will be even if I do tell them what my offense and hurt were about.

My husband recognized my wrong thinking about ‘waiting’ and lovingly confronted my fear of rejection/wanting to be loved and accepted even over obeying what God’s word tells us to do in conflict. He reminded of Prov. 6:27 NLT, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” In the Sermon on the Mount found in Matt. 5, Jesus is dealing more with the attitudes of our hearts that are behind our actions. When confronting murder, he addresses anger and when addressing anger, he deals with two kinds: when you are the offender and when you have been offended. 23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. 25 When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.”

There is a time to ‘wait’ to confront and there is a ‘way’ (as a sincere friend) to confront. But God calls us to do something about our hurt and anger when we have offended or if we were offended. The waiting He said will be in IF or HOW the offender will respond. My job is to lovingly confront. My job is to own my offenses and seek forgiveness. Whatever ‘growing’ the other person may do is the Lord’s job. My job is to wait for Him. Ps. 27:14, says to be strong and wait; Ps. 5:3 reminds us to wait expectantly; Ps. 33:20 tells us to wait because He is our help and shield; Ps. 37:7 reminds us to wait patiently; Ps. 38:15 says to wait because He will answer (in His timing); Ps. 40:1 reminds us to wait patiently because He turns to us and hears our cry.” Ps. 106:13 reminds us not to forget what God has done in our lives and that we should wait on His plan to unfold. Ps. 119:166 tells us to wait for His salvation (not eternal) and follow His commands (while we wait).

Conflict is part of life and it hard because it hurts. Let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the Lord and let Him exalt you. Casting all our cares upon Him (1 Pet. 5:6-7). Lastly, Ps. 130:5-6 commends us to wait for the Lord, with our whole being wait, and in His word, put our hope. Wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Posted by Patti Calderon with 2 Comments

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