I am the good shepherd: John 10.1–16 (19 March 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Read

Read

Workers to make the Tent of the LORD's Presence

1The LORD said to Moses, 2“I have chosen Bezalel, the son of Uri and grandson of Hur, from the tribe of Judah, 3and I have filled him with my power. I have given him understanding, skill, and ability for every kind of artistic work — 4for planning skilful designs and working them in gold, silver, and bronze; 5for cutting jewels to be set; for carving wood; and for every other kind of artistic work. 6I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, from the tribe of Dan, to work with him. I have also given great ability to all the other skilled workers, so that they can make everything I have commanded to be made: 7the Tent of my presence, the Covenant Box and its lid, all the furnishings of the Tent, 8the table and its equipment, the lampstand of pure gold and all its equipment, the altar for burning incense, 9the altar for burnt offerings and all its equipment, the washbasin and its base, 10the magnificent priestly garments for Aaron and his sons to use when they serve as priests, 11the anointing oil, and the sweet-smelling incense for the Holy Place. In making all these things, they are to do exactly as I have commanded you.”

Sabbath, the Day of Rest

12The LORD commanded Moses 13to say to the people of Israel, “Keep the Sabbath, my day of rest, because it is a sign between you and me for all time to come, to show that I, the LORD, have made you my own people. 14You must keep the day of rest, because it is sacred. Whoever does not keep it, but works on that day, is to be put to death. 15You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a solemn day of rest dedicated to me. Whoever does any work on that day is to be put to death. 16The people of Israel are to keep this day as a sign of the covenant. 17It is a permanent sign between the people of Israel and me, because I, the LORD, made heaven and earth in six days, and on the seventh day I stopped working and rested.”

18When God had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets on which God himself had written the commandments.

The Parable of the Shepherd

1Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: the man who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. 4When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. 5They will not follow someone else; instead, they will run away from such a person, because they do not know his voice.”

6Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he meant.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

7So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. 8All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever comes in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.

11“I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep. 12When the hired man, who is not a shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees a wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away; so the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. 13The hired man runs away because he is only a hired man and does not care about the sheep. 14-15I am the good shepherd. As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me. And I am willing to die for them. 16There are other sheep which belong to me that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them, too; they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

17“The Father loves me because I am willing to give up my life, in order that I may receive it back again. 18No one takes my life away from me. I give it up of my own free will. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it back. This is what my Father has commanded me to do.”

19Again there was a division among the people because of these words. 20Many of them were saying, “He has a demon! He is mad! Why do you listen to him?”

21But others were saying, “A man with a demon could not talk like this! How could a demon give sight to blind people?”

Jesus is Rejected

22It was winter, and the Festival of the Dedication of the Temple was being celebrated in Jerusalem. 23Jesus was walking in Solomon's Porch in the Temple, 24when the people gathered round him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? Tell us the plain truth: are you the Messiah?”

25Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you would not believe me. The things I do by my Father's authority speak on my behalf; 26but you will not believe, for you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never die. No one can snatch them away from me. 29What my Father has given me is greater than everything, and no one can snatch them away from the Father's care. 30The Father and I are one.”

31Then the people again picked up stones to throw at him. 32Jesus said to them, “I have done many good deeds in your presence which the Father gave me to do; for which one of these do you want to stone me?”

33They replied, “We do not want to stone you because of any good deeds, but because of your blasphemy! You are only a man, but you are trying to make yourself God!”

34Jesus answered, “It is written in your own Law that God said, ‘You are gods.’ 35We know that what the scripture says is true for ever; and God called those people gods, the people to whom his message was given. 36As for me, the Father chose me and sent me into the world. How, then, can you say that I blaspheme because I said that I am the Son of God? 37Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do. 38But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father.”

39Once more they tried to seize Jesus, but he slipped out of their hands.

40Jesus then went back again across the River Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing, and he stayed there. 41Many people came to him. “John performed no miracles,” they said, “but everything he said about this man was true.” 42And many people there believed in him.

1Remember what I say, my child, and never forget what I tell you to do. 2Do what I say, and you will live. Be as careful to follow my teaching as you are to protect your eyes. 3Keep my teaching with you all the time; write it on your heart. 4Treat wisdom as your sister, and insight as your closest friend. 5They will keep you away from other men's wives, from women with seductive words.

The Immoral Woman

6Once I was looking out of the window of my house, 7and I saw many inexperienced young men, but noticed one foolish fellow in particular. 8He was walking along the street near the corner where a certain woman lived. He was passing near her house 9in the evening after it was dark. 10And then she met him; she was dressed like a prostitute and was making plans. 11She was a bold and shameless woman who always walked the streets 12or stood waiting at a corner, sometimes in the streets, sometimes in the market place. 13She threw her arms round the young man, kissed him, looked him straight in the eye, and said, 14“I made my offerings today and have the meat from the sacrifices. 15So I came out looking for you. I wanted to find you, and here you are! 16I've covered my bed with sheets of coloured linen from Egypt. 17I've perfumed it with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18Come on! Let's make love all night long. We'll be happy in each other's arms. 19My husband isn't at home. He's gone away on a long journey. 20He took plenty of money with him and won't be back for two weeks.” 21So she tempted him with her charms, and he gave in to her smooth talk. 22Suddenly he was going with her like an ox on the way to be slaughtered, like a deer prancing into a trap 23where an arrow would pierce its heart. He was like a bird going into a net — he did not know that his life was in danger.

24Now then, my sons, listen to me. Pay attention to what I say. 25Do not let such a woman win your heart; don't go wandering after her. 26She has been the ruin of many men and caused the death of too many to count. 27If you go to her house, you are on the way to the world of the dead. It is a short cut to death.

Bear One Another's Burdens

1My brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too. 2Help to carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. 3If someone thinks he or she is somebody when really they are nobody, they are only deceiving themselves. 4You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done. 5For we each have our own load to carry.

6Those who are being taught the Christian message should share all the good things they have with their teachers.

7Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. People will reap exactly what they sow. 8If they sow in the field of their natural desires, from it they will gather the harvest of death; if they sow in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit they will gather the harvest of eternal life. 9So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. 10So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.

Final Warning and Greeting

11See what big letters I make as I write to you now with my own hand! 12The people who are trying to force you to be circumcised are the ones who want to show off and boast about external matters. They do it, however, only so that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even those who practise circumcision do not obey the Law; they want you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you submitted to this physical ceremony. 14As for me, however, I will boast only about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; for by means of his cross the world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. 15It does not matter at all whether or not one is circumcised; what does matter is being a new creature. 16As for those who follow this rule in their lives, may peace and mercy be with them — with them and with all God's people!

17To conclude: let no one give me any more trouble, because the scars I have on my body show that I am the slave of Jesus.

18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, my brothers and sisters. Amen.

Reflect

Daily Reflection: John 10

The image of the shepherd was a very potent one in Jewish life. Israel's greatest king, David, was a shepherd. In Psalm 23, God himself is described as the shepherd of his people. In this chapter, though, Jesus may be reflecting on Ezekiel 34, where the prophet savages Israel's rulers: 'You are doomed, you shepherds of Israel! You take care of yourselves, but never tend the sheep.' By contrast, Jesus is the 'good shepherd' who cares for the flock and lays down his life for them.

This chapter speaks of the relationship between sheep and shepherd as one of trust and protection. The sheep follow the shepherd because they know his voice (verse 4). The shepherd is totally committed to the welfare of the sheep, defending them and tending them: Jesus says he has come to bring 'life in all its fulness' (verse 10).

In part this is a warning to the early Christians against following false teachers rather than their true shepherd. But it's also a reminder of our relationship to God. We might like to think that we are strong, independent and powerful, confidently able to make up our own minds and go our own way. There's nothing wrong with that, if we have that sort of character. But sheep need to be tended by someone stronger and wiser than they are. We all need to recognise that we're under the authority and care of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Pray

Pray

God, help me to listen for the voice of Jesus in my life, and to learn to follow him. Thank you for his protection and care.

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