John in 21: Chapter 10
"I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep." John 10:14-15
Read today's passage: John 10:1-42
A common mistake people make in Bible reading is to assume that when a chapter ends, so does the story or lesson. Sometimes that's the case, but today it's not. So, take a moment to remind yourself of what happened in chapter 9: it involved a blind man and a confrontation.
For several chapters now we've seen Jesus' conflict with the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the Jews. It would seem that the Pharisees would be delighted to have Jesus, the Son of God, among them. The Pharisees had devoted their lives to serving God and following His law and teaching others to do the same. But Jesus revealed the truth about them. They weren't serving God with all their religious practices; they were serving themselves.
They were using religion to make themselves rich and influential. As a result, they were driving people away from God rather than drawing them near to Him. They were the thieves and the robbers of Jesus' parable.
The parable is also a warning for today. There are many religious leaders out there who claim to be serving God but are really only serving themselves. How can you and I avoid them? "'My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me'" (10:27).
Become familiar with the voice of Jesus by spending time in His Word. And when you listen to the men and women claiming to be servants of God, listen to the Spirit's prompting in your heart. He knows the voice of God, and will recognize those who speak for Him.