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Friday, December 2, 2011

You Gotta Come in by the Door

You Gotta Come in by the Door

(John 10:1-18)

Just one door to eternal life! Jesus is telling yet another of his famous parables here in John 10 and his message comes through loud and clear. Let’s listen to what He has to say: “I tell you the truth, the person who does not enter the sheep fold by the door but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1) “I am the Door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

Jesus is telling a story here about his sheep and the sheep fold with the one door where his sheep stay. Jesus explains to the disciples that He is the Door and the sheep must come through the Door (Jesus) to get into the fold. And of course the sheep are all those who belong to Jesus, the Master Shepherd. In his parable, Jesus also tells about two different kinds of helpers (under-shepherds) who come into the sheep fold with the job of helping out with the sheep.

There are the good shepherds –the ones who come in through the door of the fold; the ones who repent of their sins and let Jesus give them new life. And Jesus is able to use these changed helpers to lead his sheep out to pasture and back in at night. Jesus can bless his sheep through these good under-shepherds. Jesus gives life to his sheep and protects them from getting lost or being harmed by wild animals through the shepherds who came in through the door, because they hear His voice. The sheep recognize Jesus’ voice through these good under shepherds and they follow them. There is such freedom and abundance for the sheep when they are led by these good shepherds who have come in by the door (Jesus) and are guided by Jesus, the Door.

Let’s listen to how Jesus tells it. “Whoever enters by the door (Jesus) is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens to him 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. They will not follow a stranger, but will run away from him, for they do not know the voice of a stranger.” (John 10:2-5)

But then there are those other shepherds - the ones who climbed over the wall of the sheep fold and ignored the door, those who aren’t sorry for their sins and won’t repent – who won’t let Jesus give them new life. They want to do life their own way and forget the one Way. These false shepherds don’t care about the sheep but only take the job for the money. Jesus can not work through these guys and the real sheep won’t follow them anyway. The sheep don’t recognize their Masters’ voice when these false shepherds call them. The flock are never led out to pasture or allowed to drink in the streams and rivers. Poor little lambs! If a sheep wanders off and gets lost, these hired hands who jumped over the wall, won’t go look for it. And when the hungry wolves come around, these fake shepherds run off and leave the sheep to die and be eaten.

Let’s listen to what Jesus says about these false shepherds. “All who ever got into the sheep fold without Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep will not hear them. The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. The hired hand is not the shepherd and he is not bonded to the sheep, so when he sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away: and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because he is only there for the money and he does not really care about the sheep.” (John 10: 8,10a,12 and 13)

Jesus finishes his parable by explaining that He is the Good Shepherd. Jesus has so many names in Scripture and the “Good Shepherd” and the “Door” are just two of his many names. He is our Door or our entrance to eternal life and He is also our Shepherd who leads us into the abundance of that life. Let’s listen to what He says here. “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd: and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:11,14,15,17and 18)

Jesus says that He lay down his life for his sheep (us) and He comes to give his sheep life-not just ordinary existence, but life in fullness and abundance. On the other hand the Enemy (Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy. The line is clearly drawn in this parable. There is no middle ground. Jesus makes it definite that there are just two choices – the choice to be on Gods’ side or the choice not to be. There are the real under-shepherds and the false hired hands, those who come in by the door and those who don’t. There is just one moral to this story. You gotta come in by the Door.

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