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Sunday, November 4, 2018

posted Nov 4, 2018, 7:19 PM by Site Administrator





John 10:1-10

Key Verse 10:9 


I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.


First, The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep (1-6). Today’s passage is the continuation of Jesus’ dialogue with the Pharisees, after healing the man born blind. Look at verses 1 and 2. Jesus says, I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. Shepherds, thieves and robbers are all interested in sheep, but for different reasons. Spiritual leaders are the ones who deal with God’s flock; they have religious titles, and they are teachers and leaders. But here, Jesus divides them into two categories – shepherds, and thieves or robbers. Their difference is found in the manner they approach the sheep pen. Early in the morning, the shepherd comes to the sheep pen confidently, saying to the watchman, Good morning! Thank you for taking care of my sheep all night long. Nothing to hide or worry about. On the contrary, thieves and robbers cannot come to the sheep pen in this way. Instead, they climb in by some other way, very secretly. When you see anyone who does not come to the church by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, you can be rest assured that he is a thief or a robber. Call 911 immediately. 


In approaching the former blind man, Jesus did not use any secretive way; he didn’t try to purchase his heart by giving him what he wanted. Even if this man was blind from birth, Jesus challenged him to do the work of God even in that situation. Then, Jesus spit on the ground and made some mud, and put it on his eyes. It was really humiliating, and very questionable in the matter of hygiene. But Jesus did not explain anything to him. Instead, Jesus told him, Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. In this way, Jesus challenged him not to be controlled by human thinking or sense of humiliation, but obey his word by faith. Then, later, when this man lost everything in the world because of his struggle to keep his grace, Jesus challenged him, saying, Do you believe in the Son of Man? With this, he helped the man worship him, and make real dedication to him. Jesus’ way of approaching and helping sheep was not secretive, or complicated, but simple and clear to the point – Do the work of God in all circumstances, remain faithful to God’s grace at any cost, and make full commitment to Jesus Christ. That's exactly what the Bible is talking about - our supreme duty to reveal the glory of God as God's creatures, and our absolute loyalty and commitment to God; that's what we humans are supposed to do - that is the truth. And that is the way for us to enjoy true happiness and fulfillment in God. In trying to influence and lead the man, Jesus had nothing to hide, but confidently taught him the truth; he was like a shepherd who, in the morning, enters the sheep pen by the gate, saying to the watchman, Good morning! How are you doing? On the contrary, the Pharisees’ way of approaching the man was very secretive and twisted, with a lot of interrogation, threatening, and lies. Why? It was because they wanted to fulfill their own desires and plans – like thieves and robbers they were self-seeking, instead of serving God or taking care of God’s flock.When we hold onto the truth – the teachings of the Bible, we have nothing to hide or be afraid of; instead, we can confidently teach them to dedicate themselves to God completely and live for the glory of God; we challenge them freely to repent of their self-seeking desires, humanistic views and doubts and mistrust so that they can obey God’s will upon their life. 


Look at verse 3. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. Every morning, many people took their sheep to green pastures usually outside the city, watched over them while they grazed on the fresh grass all day long and in the evening they came back home. Then, they brought their sheep to a public sheep pen prepared for all the sheep in the town, and a watchman took care of the sheep during night, while all the shepherds enjoyed a good night’s sleep at their homes. Then, early in the morning, all the shepherds came to the sheep pen and started their routine shepherding journey. 


Now early in the morning, when a shepherd comes to the sheep pen to gather his sheep, there is one problem. There are many sheep in the sheep pen. If ten shepherds, who owned 100 sheep each, brought their sheep to the sheep pen, all 1,000 of their sheep would be in the sheep pen. How would he be able to find the 100 sheep that belong to him amidst so many other sheep? If he had to go through 1,000 sheep one by one to find his own, it would be a very difficult task. In our eyes, all sheep just look the same! Yet, there is a way. He calls his own sheep by name, and his sheep listen to his voice. When he calls out the name, Lucky, among 1,000 sheep, only one sheep responds and comes to him. Then, he calls, Mooshy,then another sheep from the 1,000 responds joyfully, Baaaaeee! and comes out to him. This way, he gathers all his sheep. This shows that the shepherd and sheep relationship is very personal, knowing each other. It is really true that the shepherd knows his sheep and his sheep know him. 


Of course, when the sheep were young, they didn't know their shepherd; they didn't know their names either; simply, they didn't recognize their shepherd's voice that even if he called them by name, they did not respond; they were just busy to do whatever they wanted. But overtime, as the shepherd and the sheep went through many things together, they came to realize that the shepherd was taking care of them and protecting them; they came to realize that the shepherd loved them and even would do anything for them; they finally came to trust him; then, whenever their shepherd was near them, they felt so secure and confident; when the shepherd called his sheep, Mooshy, Mooshy was so happy at his voice that it jumped up among all the sheep, saying happily, Baaaeeeee and came out so confidently and proudly. They were happy and proud to be recognized as the sheep of their shepherd who loved them and took care of them. 


This shepherd and sheep relationship vividly shows our relationship with God. God wants to bless us and make us happy. But like newly born little sheep, how many times have we naively ignored his voice for our own pleasures and desires in the world, only to bring harms on ourselves? But our Shepherd did not give up on us. He called us by name again and again - sometimes, by touching us through Christian radio station, sometimes through simple Bible passages, and sometimes, by sending his servants to us until we recognize his person in our life. Because of our shepherd’s unfailing love and struggle for us, finally we have come to develop an ear to hear his voice; finally, we come to respond to his voice, saying, Baaaaaaae! How happy our shepherd must be when we finally respond to his voice, saying, Yes, Lord, I am here. Your grace has brought me back to you. Finally, we begin to respond to his voice dancing joyfully. Jesus is our shepherd and we are his sheep. We respond to his calling. When he saysRoberto, he responds, Baaaaaeeee! When he calls, Johnny, he responds, Baaaeeee! Yahoo! Now whatever he says to us, we respond, saying, Yes, Sir! Here I am! Send me. I will do it. We belong to him and he belongs to us.


Now we take care of God’s flock. We are God’s hands and feet. Do they recognize their shepherd’s voice? Do they respond at their names? Often, they are really deaf that we feel like talking to the wall. But just as our shepherd did for us, we wrestle with them continually, teaching them the Bible diligently, sometimes, challenging and rebuking them, and sometimes, praying for them with tears. Then, one day, suddenly they begin to respond to God’s words, repenting and sincerely seeking God’s will upon their life, and even obeying our directions wholeheartedly. When they recognize their names as God’s sheep, we are overjoyed. This is how God’s work goes on our campuses.

Look at verse 4. Let’s read this verse together: 


When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.


Now once the shepherd has brought out his own sheep, he starts his shepherd’s journey for the sheep. The destination? The green pasture he had already explored. Then, how does he lead them to the green pasture? Verse 4 says, He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. He goes on ahead of them. In order to tend pigs, you need to drive them from behind with a stick, but not so with the sheep. Sheep are so near-sighted that simply, to them, everything is blurry, and they are so fearful that they dare not go ahead by themselves even if they are pushed from behind. Instead, the shepherd goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow their shepherd. 


This is how Jesus, our chief shepherd has led us so far. Instead of dictating us to do this and that, he went ahead of us so that we can follow his example. Even after skipping meals for forty days, he still refused to use his time, energy and power to make bread and secure his life; instead, he was still determined to meditate on the word of God and live according to God’s command, saying, Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Lk 4:4) When Satan tempted him to pursue worldly glory and riches, Jesus said to him, It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only. (Lk 4:8) At Gethemane, when he felt so troubled because of the burden of dying on the cross, he prayed, Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done. Now Jesus commands us to follow him; he also shows us how we can follow him, saying, If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. If sheep does whatever it wants to do and lives however way it desires, surely it will end up eating poisonous ivy and die, or it will surely go astray only to be destroyed by ferocious wolves. But when we follow our shepherd who goes ahead of us, surely he will lead us to green pasture and we will be satisfied.


Look at verse 5. Let’s read this verse together:


But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.


To the sheep, it is a matter of life and death to recognize their shepherd’s voice and follow him. If they make any mistake in this matter and follow a stranger’s voice thinking that it was their shepherd’s voice, then, the next day, they will be found at Food For Less supermarket - $3.99/lb. These animal sheep neither respond to the stranger’s voice nor follow him. Instead, they run away from him. They never make a mistake in this matter. But amazingly, there are so many human sheep that make a mistake in this matter, and follow a stranger thinking that it was their shepherd’s voice only to be miserable and destroyed. There is a voice from our flesh, promising an easy-going, pleasure-seeking and comfortable life; it appeals to our small citizen’s desire. There is also a voice that comes from the world, promising great success, luxury and popularity. There is also a voice from our enemy Satan that plants doubt and mistrust in God and in God’s people. Even demons speak to you to go for sinful things. All these strangers imitate our shepherd’s voice promising good-sounding things we desire such as promising future with great sense of security, convenience, satisfaction and fulfillment. Don’t be deceived. How can we distinguish our shepherd’s voice from the stranger’s voice? Our shepherd’s voice comes with the message that is hard, but right, requiring us of our own self-denial, cross-taking, real submission and dedication to God’s will, losing our life for God, even death on the cross. But the stranger’s voice comes with the promises of easy-going, pleasant, and comfortable life, fulfilling our own dreams and desires, family-centered, valuing our families more than things of GodDon’t be deceived by those enemies. Respond to your shepherd’s voice, but run away from the stranger’s voice.  


Second, Whoever enters through me will be saved(6-10). The Pharisees did not realize that Jesus was talking about them – that they were not shepherds for the sheep, the former blind man, but thieves and robbers. That’s why he did not listen to them, even though they said, “Give glory to God.” But instead, he listened to Jesus and followed him no matter what he said, because Jesus was his shepherd. They just understood that Jesus was talking about shepherding. SoJesus gave them another figure of speech to help them understand who he was and who they were. Look at verses 7 and 8. Let’s read this verse together:


7Therefore Jesus said again, I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.


This second figure of speech of Jesus is based on shepherding in the mountains or in the field where the shepherd watches over the sheep grazing on the grass. Under their shepherd’s care, sheep enjoy good time, and everything is peaceful. Yet, the problem is that from time to time, the shepherd needs some rest as well. He too may feel tired or sleepy in such a peaceful looking environment. But if he sleeps while the sheep graze in the open field, something undesirable or terrible may happen, such as: wolves attacking the sheep, or the thieves stealing some of the sheep. What did they do to solve this dilemma? The townspeople had already made a sheep pen in the open field so that when the shepherd was sleepy or tired in watching over the sheep, he could simply bring them into the sheep pen, and then freely rest. This sheep pen had fence around it, but uniquely, it did not have a door, but only an opening. The shepherd stands there at the opening and brings his sheep in, and after that, he puts his sleeping bag right at that spot, at the opening, and he sleeps. So, then, the shepherd himself becomes the gate for the sheep. In the open field, no one else, but the shepherd can become the gate for the sheep. Jesus says that he is the gate for the sheep indicating that only he is the shepherd. Then, what about other religious leaders? They were thieves and robbers. 


In verse 9, Jesus describes the blessed life of people who come to his sheep pen through him, the gate. Let’s read verse 9 together:


9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 


Jesus promises three blessings - will be saved, will come in and go out, and find pasture. Those who enter through him will be saved. Saved from what? From all dangers and harms. Outside the sheep pen, there are many predators - ferocious wolves, bears and lions; not only so, there are also thieves and robbers. Outside the sheep pen, all the sheep's ultimate struggle is survival. But the sheep inside the sheep pen are secured and protected; they have no concern about the predators, because their shepherd is at the gate. This complete sense of security and protection is what all people want to have. They are so harassed by the sense of insecurity; the fear of future security is one main factor that drives them to study and work hard. Above all, the fear of death is what makes them depressed and suffer from insomnia. Even if they eat all kinds of healthy food, once they catch just common cold, they are so scared that they may have some incurable disease and die. This is how people live their entire life; there is no peace or rest for their souls. But we have been saved from all those predators and we have the deep sense of security that he holds our future and that our life is in Jesus' hands that we don't die by accident without any purpose. Finally, we have found rest for our souls in Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “Whoever enters through me will be saved. This is Jesus' promise for all those who enter through him. 


The statement, He will come in and go out is an expression of enjoying freedom. Many people think of living as Christians as living with a whole bunch of dos and don’ts. But that’s not true. It is to live as free men and women in God. Enjoying freedom, this is what all mankind have looked for. One person said, Give us freedom, or death. But often, as they pursue freedom doing whatever they want, they end up becoming loyal slaves of sin. This freedom is found in Jesus' sheep pen, and given to those who happily live in his sheep pen. If Adam had remained in God's sheep pen by obeying his command, he would have enjoyed this freedom forever. David sang a song of thanks to his shepherd, God, saying, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul... Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,... (Ps 23) In living as Jesus’ sheep by obeying his instructions and following his guidance is the real sense of security, peace and freedom. Indeed, there you can say, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” Surely, Christian life is not the life of a whole bunch of restrictions and regulations, but the life of enjoying freedom in God by living as Jesus’ good sheepJesus invites those who are outside this sheep pen, who are harassed, frightened. He invites all those wounded souls, saying, I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out.


Jesus also says, Whoever enters through me will find pasture. Pasture is what is most essential for the sheep. With green grass on the pasture, they are satisfied – yum yum; they can grow healthy and sound; they become strong and produce beautiful wools very well. With pasture, their life is flourishing and they are happy. Jesus promises that whoever enters through him, whoever lives in his sheep pen will find pasture that will satisfy them, nourish their souls and make their lives so fulfilling. Jesus is talking about what we have been looking for all the time – something that will make our lives truly meaningful, fulfilling and great. Everyone wants to find it. But they never find what they truly want in this world. Instead, what they find are wolves, lions, thieves and robbers. Adam, the first man thought that outside the will of God he would find wisdom and that he would be like God. But what he found outside God's sheep pen was sorrows, misery, bitterness, pains and death. Only inside the sheep pen, we find pasture we have been looking for, and our souls are satisfied. Then our testimony becomes: I have all I need. My cup overflows. Your grace upon me is sufficient. From our lips comes out thanks and praise to God all the time. With pasture we also grow up as healthy, sound and strong sheep of Jesus. We grow from glory to glory as children of God. 


Jesus proclaims, I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. All those who enter through Jesus are truly blessed: they are saved from all harms and dangers; they enjoy truly free life in Jesus’ sheep pen. Moreover, they find pasture, which they have been looking for; they are satisfied and grow up as beautiful, noble, truly respectful and honorable men and women of God. All these blessings are given to everyone who enters through Jesus, the gate.  


Look at verse 10. Let’s read this verse together:


10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


Throughout human history, mankind had only two guests: the first one was the devil. When he visited our father, Adam, and his wife, Eve, and said, Did God really say that you must not eat from any tree in the Garden?, he looked like a friend concerning their happiness. However, later, it turned out that he was really an enemy. Adam and Eve were not aware of this, and were deceived by him. As a result, they lost everything – their wealth as king and queen, their health and life, their mission and position as God’s stewards and the rulers over God’s creation. Today, this thief still looks for a chance to steal, kill and destroy children of God like a roaring lion. Maybe, what he whispers into our ears is sweet and what he shows us looks attractive - great success or a romantic relationship and happy family, but remember: His purpose is not to give you anything good or make you happy, but to steal all good things from you; he wants to steal your joy, happiness, meaning and purpose of life, your beauty, purity, and integrity as children of God. So many people have followed this thief, paying attention to his voice, and as a result, they have lost everything; and now in their thirties, or forties or fifties, their life has no meaning and purpose and they have no joy or happiness; instead, they are miserable, lonely, sorrowful, painful, and fearful; their life carries no value at all, no meaning at all. But this terrible enemy does not stop there with stealing alone; his real purpose is to see the end - he wants to kill and destroy; he is really terrible, so don't be deceived even if he looks good and uses tempting words. 


The second guest was Jesus. The purpose of his coming was that his sheep may have life, zoe - that truly fulfilling, dynamic and powerful life. For this purpose, he opened the eyes of the blind, healed the paralytic and made the lamb walk again; he did whatever was necessary for people to have life, zoe; he even would lay down his life for them - that much Jesus wants us to have zoe. Indeed, he has helped us to have zoe, a truly fulfilling life, and certainly he will do more if necessary for us to enjoy zoe. Jesus never wants us to just exist by the means of a career and family - that is the life that is perishing. In his eyes, such life is the life of zombies, the life of the dead. Jesus comes to you so that you may have life, zoe. This is his purpose for you. He says to us, Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. This is how we can enjoy zoe, eternal life, in him. Jesus says, Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor. Then, come and follow me.” This is how we can enjoy eternal life in him. “Whoever loses his life for me will save it.” This is how we can enjoy eternal life in him. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This is how we can enjoy eternal life. How happy we are when we follow Jesus as his disciples! We were so thrilled and satisfied when we served the messages and symposiums powerfully at the conference. How cool it is to proclaim God's words to many students through one to one Bible studies. God has established us as shepherds and Bible teachers for God's flock. 


How is your Christian life in Jesus? Surely, our life in him has been so glorious and fulfilling; we are happy. But certainly, it is not all. Jesus says, They may have life and have it to the full. Jesus wants us to enjoy this new life, zoeto the full - the full spectrum of this new life in him - the joy of finding the secrets of the kingdom of God in the word of God; the joy of having fellowship with God in prayer, the mystery of coworking together with the Holy Spirit in doing his work, the thrill of having a sword battle face to face through one to one Bible studies, and the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord really, the joy of finding the lost,... Jesus wants us to enjoy all these to the full. That’s why we need to follow him wholeheartedly. That’s why we need to get rid of any and every sin that entangles us so easily. When we enjoy this new life zoe to the full, surely, the whole world will be blessed through us and God's glory will be revealed powerfully. This is Jesus' vision for us; this is Jesus' purpose for our life. Surely, he loves us, and his plan for us is only good all the time. Praise Jesus, our shepherd who leads us to green pasture. So, let’s follow his guidance wholeheartedly, throwing away all kinds of doubts and mistrust. When we put our trust in him, certainly, we will not be put to shame.


In today’s passage, we heard the promise of Jesus for those who enter through him. Jesus says, I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. Only Jesus is the shepherd, and we must enter his sheep pen through him. Then, we enjoy this abundant life, life to the full, enjoying salvation, new and powerful life in him. May God bless us to hear his voice and enter his sheep pen through him. 


One Word: Whoever Enters Through Jesus Will Be Saved