Today's Lectionary Text
John 10:1-18 (CEB)
I assure you that whoever doesn’t enter into the sheep pen through the gate but climbs over the wall is a thief and an outlaw. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The guard at the gate opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. Whenever he has gathered all of his sheep, he goes before them and they follow him, because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice.” Those who heard Jesus use this analogy didn’t understand what he was saying.
So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.
“This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.”
The sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. Whenever He has gathered all of His sheep, He goes before them and they follow Him, because they know His voice. (v. 3b). The image of Jesus being our shepherd is comforting. He guides us through life, and we just have to listen to His voice to know where to go. The problem arises when we begin to listen to other voices who are attempting to pull us to their side. Those voices are loud! They do not stop. Before we know it, we have wandered off the path of following Jesus and being Christ-like.
Jesus catches our attention with His words concerning the sheep in v. 5, They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice. Oh, if we were only so dedicated and Christ-like that when we hear the stranger’s voice we would run away.
We can run in the opposite direction of the loud voices, yet it takes dedication and endurance. John 15: 4-5 Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without Me, you can’t do anything. While these verses are talking about the life of a disciple, the words of remain in Me are strategic in our faith walk. To remain in Christ is the ever-flowing characteristics of life which keeps our ears tuned to His voice.
The Great Shepherd calls us by name. The calling of our name – it is a personal, relationship bond. The world will call us without using our name, for the world really does not care about us.
Who are you going to follow?
-Rev. Hollie Tapley
Disaster Response Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
Loving God, thank You for the tie that binds us together. Forgive us for when the stranger has called, and we followed. Tune our ears to only hear Your voice. Amen.
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