One of the things that is to keep us encouraged and motivated, as the church, is to always know that “Jesus is Lord” and that within all that we do, we do it for Him.
Occasionally, it does us well to step back (even for a moment or two) and realize that together, in unity, we are the body of Christ. In today’s context and culture, I think that is easily marginalized. In fact, I see some that actually fly in the face of God’s original intent for His Church and the Mission He has given it.
So how do we best follow the mandate of Jesus? With so many that make up the body as individual members and partners, how do we move forward without leaving anyone behind? That may just be the “so-called” $64,000 question.
This past Wednesday at our All Colony Monthly Gathering, here at Bridgeway, I was blessed to lead a discussion on John 10. We’ve been in this powerful Gospel narrative for a few months now, and I have found this chapter to be among the most challenging, encouraging, and supportive. Not that the rest of John isn’t rich in instruction and teaching, it surely is. But because of where we are and where God is leading us, I have felt that John 10 speaks right into it.
In this segment of the Gospel, John presents Jesus as “The Good Shepherd” and identifies us (as people and as His followers, as “sheep”). Go on and read it. So as we read and gleaned through John 10, a few things arise and seem to just saturate. Let me pinpoint a few and highlight:
- First, John 10 reminds us that “it’s not what you know, it’s Who you know.” For example, as we look at the Pharisees and their establishment of religion, they were more highly educated than the masses. Yet, within their knowledge, they failed to “know God.” And to be clear, they did not know the voice of The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
- Second, there is a powerful principle: Jesus Christ (alone) offers us, gives us, and supplies us with “the abundant life” (v.10). Knowing Him is our greatest privilege – there is no sweeter sound in all the earth than His voice. Don’t be deceived by thinking that the life He gives can be bought, found, or traded for, anywhere else.
- Thirdly, John 10 is the best commentary that exists on Psalm 23 (go ahead and read that too). “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” – that is exactly what Jesus gives in John 10. When He is truly our Shepherd, we will not lack any good thing. [By the way: there are many biblical references of support for this].
- Fourth, while God loves all, cares for His sheep, and calls them individually, much of His care and guidance comes as His sheep are a part of His flock. Get this now! That is, today, The Church. This is a very individualistic time period in history – more so than ever before. When personal independence is paramount in the lives and minds of many Christians – it leaves little (if any) room for His preference. It is ignorant for us to expect and demand personalized customizing, based on preference, from any human means. That is, the good of the body, His Church, is a movement of people who identify Jesus Christ as Lord and Jesus Christ as The Good Shepherd. No human can meet the needs. No human can be omnipresent. Human shepherds, no matter how well gifted, can live up to the expectations placed on them. This is precisely why God deals with His Church as a flock. And on this point, within chapter 10: it seems evident that God has instituted His Church so that the needs of His people can be met in the context of a flock. So, are you vitally involved with a flock of sheep (a church)? If not, you should be – both to minister to others and to be ministered to by others. The Lord’s sheep are His sheep, not our sheep.
- And lastly, as the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate standard for all shepherding: no one can/will duplicate Him. We strive to be the best we can, with God’s help and the Holy Spirit – but there are just certain things He can/will do that we cannot. What does that mean? We have to know when to be involved and when to go all in, and we need to know when to let go and let God. There is a fine line there that is often difficult to see, but nevertheless, we must be sensitive to it and we must discern it better and more clearly.
John 10 is such powerful revelation. We could certainly go on, and on, and on. But for now, I believe we just need to soak on this. We need to get this. We need The Good Shepherd in every aspect of our lives, so that we don’t miss Who He wants/wills/desires to be . Praise God for His presence in our lives, and for His voice that is known by His sheep. He alone is worthy!