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Bible Pathways 11/04/2002

November 4

Read John 9 -- 10

In Today’s Reading:

Healing the man born blind; Jesus, the Good Shepherd; Jews' unbelief.

When Jesus said: I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd . . . sees the wolf coming . . . leaves the sheep . . . and the wolf . . . scatters the sheep . . . I lay down My life for the sheep (John 10: 11-15), Jesus identified Himself with the prophecy of Ezekiel.

The religious authorities in Israel were known as the shepherds of Israel; but they were false, self-centered prophets, as Ezekiel foretold: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? (Ezekiel 34:2). Ezekiel then portrayed the True Shepherd: I will set up One Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even my servant David. . . . And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them. . . . And I will make with them a covenant of peace (34:23-25).

The Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to write: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep . . . in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever (Hebrews 13:20-21). The Apostle Peter foretold: When the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory (I Peter 5:4). The evidence of His true sheep is that they follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger they will not follow (John 10:4-5).

Jesus also said: I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all (10:28-29). Jesus reveals Himself as coequal and coeternal with God the Father. Sheep are not as sly as the fox nor as powerful as a lion. They need a shepherd to guide and protect them. How comforting it is to be assured that we have the Good Shepherd caring for us.

The religious leaders became hostile when Jesus claimed equality with the Heavenly Father, which would make Him also God. So they took up stones again to stone Him (10:31). Their hostility reminds us of the hatred of Cain for his brother Abel: Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous (I John 3:12). The world loves those who conform to its spirit, accept its values, and worship its false gods. The distinguishing mark of the Christian is a recognition of the need for guidance and a desire to follow the Shepherd. His own sheep . . . follow him: for they know h· is voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him (John 10:4-5).

Thought for Today: Christians, like sheep, need to stay near the Shepherd in order to be protected from the dangers of the world.

Word Studies:

10:3 porter = doorkeeper; 10:41 resorted = came.

Cross Reference:

For John 10:34: See Psa. 82:6.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for one another · Country: Cameroon (15 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: English and French · Pressure on Christians from authorities and Muslims · 28% Roman Catholic; 23% Muslim; 18% animism, divination, and animal sacrifices; 14% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His redeeming love (Revelation 5:9).

Memory Verse for the Week: John 10:5

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