Devotional by Mark Hopkins
Jesus made some bold statements! One of my favorites is in John’s gospel the 10th chapter and the 10th verse.
The message translation puts it this way:
Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
Jesus painted a picture that was so vivid to His audience. Sheep and shepherding was a common occurrence for the people so this use of imagery was a powerful communication tool so that people understood the powerful life that Jesus presented. Sheep that were vulnerable to their environment, dependent on those who ruled over them. Jesus here gives an image of freedom and release that was ‘jaw dropping.’ This life was both now and eternal! There was no cheap charlatan offer here. It was the promise of a limitless life in the midst of the cruel and harsh Roman regime that surrounded them at this time. A true shepherd that had a future envisaged for His people.
He taps into the narrative well understood by Israel of the coming of a King that restores, renews and brings life. For many in Jesus’ audience, life was harsh and difficult. They were a conquered people, not just by the Romans but the Greeks before that. Life was nothing like what we know, there were no real rights unless you were a Roman citizen and even then they were negotiable. This promise of a limitless life of contentment and purpose regardless of circumstance was mind blowing. It embodies all things working together for our good, a God that brings hope in hopelessness and joy when there’s nothing to be happy about.
Our world is hungry today for this type of life. The politics of our day promise freedom and purpose but without regard to the One who truly is life. Many people are disillusioned by empty promises and unfulfilled hope by the leaders of this world. Yet we, who know Jesus have a hope, not in this world or its systems but in the Kingdom of God being established.
Today as you consider what’s going on around you, be encouraged that the best is still ahead for all those who call Jesus Lord. He is still able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all we could ever ask, hope or think according to His mighty power at work within you. Cast your cares upon Him and allow His wisdom to bring life and peace into your situation.