This week as we read quietly through John’s gospel we will see Jesus demonstrate that He is the True Shepherd.
Day 1 John 9
Day 2 John 10
Day 3 John 11:1-37
Day 4 John 11:38-57
Day 5 John 12:1-36
In chapter 9 Jesus encounters a blind man and heals him on the Sabbath. It is a beautify story of love and compassion for a man who has been rejected by society his whole life. The prevailing belief at the time was that if you were blind or suffered from another impairment it was due to your sin. The belief is evident in the question of Jesus’s disciples, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus responds, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him” (vv2-3). In other words, the purpose of the man’s blindness was to reveal Jesus as the Son of God. Then Jesus, despite that the religious leaders were looking for a reason to kill Him, anointed the blind man’s eyes and gave him sight.
When the Pharisees learned that this man had received his sight, they brought him in for questioning. They interrogated him. They questioned who healed him. They questioned whether or not he was ever truly blind. They even called in his parents to verify that he was the blind man who he claimed to be. In the end, the religious leaders excommunicate the the healed man from the synagogue because he would not deny the power of Jesus (John 9:13-34).
Do you notice what the religious leaders did not do? They did not celebrates that he had been made well. Not one person celebrated. Can you imagine? You’ve been blind your whole life and then bam! you are healed and no one rejoices with you. Instead they question your honesty over and over again. How incredibly sad.
Immediately following these passages, Jesus begins to teach about the one True and Good Shepherd.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:1-5)
The Israelites had many “shepherds” in the form of religious leaders. Some were faithful servants of God and to the people, but many weren’t. They were thieves and robbers because they didn’t come to help give life, but rather take life. They used their religious role — a role that was designed for service — for personal gain and often at the expense of their fellow Israelites. They were marked with ambition, manipulation, and corruption. They were false shepherds.
Jesus, on the other hand, was and is the one True Shepherd. His people follow Him because they know His voice is true. His heart is to serve and protect them. Jesus came to lay down his life for His people so that they so that they might have life abundantly (John 10:10-11). Jesus displays love, care, compassion, and sacrificial service.
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:7-11).
When the Pharisees spoke with the healed man, they demonstrated they did not show love or compassion as Jesus did. They feared that this man’s testimony would promote Jesus as the true Messiah and ultimately end their reign in the religious system they had corrupted. They cared little for the man and worried only about their self importance. How they dealt with this man reveals them as the thieves and robbers whom Jesus spoke about.
Jesus, however, after the man had been rejected once again, went and found him (John 9:35). He did not leave the man alone to wander around in spiritually blindness. He opened the man’s eyes to see that He was the Son of God and the man worshiped Him (v 36-39).
Jesus is the same with us. He wants to heal our spiritual blindness so that we can see how much He loves and cares for us. May our eyes be open and may we then live an abundant life full of worship.
Only by grace,
This post is part of a series dedicated to reading quietly through the Gospel according to John. Click here to see all the post and find the full reading plan.