John 10:1-10 – “TRULY, truly, I say to you, He who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up from another place, is a thief and a bandit.2 But he who enters by the door, is the shepherd of the sheep.3 To him the door-keeper opens the door; and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by their names and brings them out.4 And when he has brought out his sheep, he goes before them; and his own sheep * follow him, because they know his voice.5 The sheep do not follow a stranger, but they run away from him; because they do not know the voice of a stranger.6 Jesus spoke this parable to them; but they did not understand what he was telling them.7 Jesus said to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.8 All who have come are thieves and bandits, if the sheep did not hear them.9 I am the door; if any man enter by me, he shall live, and he shall come in and go out and find pasture.10 A thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”
I have far more to say than can be capsulized into a short devotional or even several devotionals. Therefore, I will hit the high points as much as possible and hope that it inspires you to dig a little deeper into God’s Word and Love.
In Jesus’ teaching here in John 10, He presented the truth that He was the Good Shepherd, the one who cared for the flock. He also revealed that there would be others who would not care for the flock but would be in it for their own prestige or gain. They would operate in a manner that could only be called theft. The money-grubbing, charlatans and cheats pretending to be ministers of the gospel give all ministers a bad name.
In this passage and other places, Jesus uses the figure of His church being sheep. In this, He gives us an insight into the purpose and mission of the arch-enemy of everything heavenly, the devil and his cohorts.
Paul said that we are not ignorant of the devices and schemes of the devil. It is clear that if the devil cannot stop us from praying, his purpose is to make us inconsistent and ineffective. He wants to stop us from becoming all God says we are and to prevent us from having anything from the LORD.
THE THIEF COMES TO STEAL
That’s what thieves do, right? This thief wants to steal God’s word from our hearts (Luke 8 and Matthew 13). If we are going to have a harvest, we must have a planting season. The Law of Sowing and Reaping always applies. He steals the word before it can germinate in our hearts. He manipulates us so that we do not provide good soil for the seed to be sown in and the rocky places give no root and when trials come, we wither and we draw back. The cares and pursuits of this life choke out the purposes of God and we lose sight of what has been offered and settle for the temporal rather than enjoying the eternal.
Too often we fail to understand that God’s Word is the absolute authority. If Jesus or God said it, that settles it. Someone said, “Jesus said it and I believe it and that settles it.” I said, “No, your believing or not believing it had no bearing on it being settled as truth, God said it because it is the truth and that settles it.”
We can be like Eve and allow the enemy to put questions in our minds as to God’s integrity and purpose or we can embrace His truth and walk in His freedom and enjoy the abundant life Jesus came to bring. The devil wants to steal the knowledge that God’s Word is the absolute authority for all things.
He wants to steal the reality of the urgency of the message of the Gospel. He tells us, that there is plenty of time. You can make it right someday before you die. He suggests that the pursuit of your goals, dreams, and ambitions make it inconvenient and there will be a more convenient time.
Reality screams that time (life) is short, the hope of the lost is to hear the truth, and the moment we are living in right now is the only sure opportunity to respond to God’s invitation. Remember the Thief comes to Steal but we can refuse to allow him access into our lives. We can turn to God and resist the devil and the devil has to flee.
I want to address this more but will do so next time. Until then, I pray that you will walk in the freedom that God has promised for those who accept His word and obey His commands.
God bless you is my prayer!