September 15

John 11

11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

(ESV)

Going Deeper

Going Deeper

The Good Shepherd  (9-13-14)

Going Deeper is a weekend devotion intended to help you go deeper into a scripture you spent time in during the week.  We pray this is simply another way for you to dig into God’s word. May your affections for Him be stirred and your soul sanctified for all He has prepared for you.

Grab your bible and let’s go deeper into John 10:1-16

Jesus has just had a lengthy exchange with the religious hierarchy of the day (the Pharisees) over the healing of a blind man in

John 9

9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

(ESV)

. Jesus is going to take the conversation to a different topic— a well-known topic in that day—one of “Shepherds and sheep!”

In that day the Middle East often referred to kings and priests as shepherds and their subjects as sheep.  The Old Testament text that many of the Jews grew up studying is filled with important men who were shepherds; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. So it was very fitting for Jesus to use this platform of sheep and shepherds as his metaphor for his next two proclamations.

Read: John 10:1-6   

The location he is describing is a Sheepfold!  A sheepfold was a roofless enclosure in an open field, most likely with a wall made of rough stones, and with a sturdy door for access.  A robber or a thief who did not belong would not have had a key to the door or access to go through it if the gatekeeper did not know him.  So to take what was not theirs, thieves would have had to jump over the wall.

IN THE MOMENT

Jesus is talking about the religious leaders who were trying to illegitimately gain mastery over the Jewish people.  They would have used a number of tactics to convince and sway the people toward them and in doing so avoid the door for access— and try to discredit the true shepherd from ministering to his flock.

Read: John 10:7-10   

Jesus is talking about his work to bring his people back to a restored life with Him!  He is saying, “I, GOD, am here to give you access to the abundant life that I originally made for you.” Jesus is making it very clear, in the midst of these thieves and robbers: “I am telling you the truth.  I am real, deep, lasting, Life!  Through me ‘the gate…the door’ is where you will find LIFE!”

How is this Good News to us?

JESUS IS LIFE! 

This understanding is everything! 

Why is it so hard for us to get this? One reason, I think, is the same problem Jesus fought against in his day—the religious institutions have taught for too long something else.  We have been raised to see Jesus as the Provider FOR life…instead of Realizing God’s pure design: that Jesus IS life!

Think for a second about those who have snuck over the wall and tried to convince you they were your shepherd.  Who are the thieves and robbers in your life?

  • a parent who told you weren’t worth anything by the way they treated you or treated themselves (drinking, drugs, gambling, workaholic)
  • a “Friend” who convinced you to make a lame decision that cost you a lot
  • a lover who used you for your care, your time, your body
  • a drug that has plagued your life with a lust for it instead of godly things
  • a form of media that has you entranced with its images or sounds and seems to consume you day and night
  • a career goal that has you trapped pursuing motorcycles, and awards, and paychecks that never seems to last or be enough

Jesus is saying, “Those people and things are not life!” Jesus is saying, “follow me and I will bring you to pasture…I am life…my motive is pure and my ability to keep my promise is golden.   The thief’s motive is wicked: it is to use you selfishly until you don’t provide any longer and then be done with you!”

Read again: John 10:1

  • The thief didn’t have the key, and didn’t know the gatekeeper…So why do we trust people like this in our lives?

Read again: John 10: 2-3

We love being called by name…we love being known, don’t we? Do you realize Jesus knows you better than your best friend, your very own mother?  He knows you better than you know yourself!  For many of you that is a frightening thought, because you don’t like what you know about yourself.

  • The good News is: HE knows YOU…and he still showed up to redeem you!   Why?  To bring you home.  To invite you to LIVE!   Are you listening to his voice?

Notice it says “he leads them out.”  He doesn’t drive us like most Shepherds do with their flock, HE leads and we follow!

Read again: John 10:4-5

Again, are you trusting a stranger?  Who are your going to for your guidance in life?

Read again: John 10:7

What is the function of a gate or a door?   Entrance!

Read again: John 10:9

THROUGH”   I want to focus on this very important word…

Again, Why is it GOOD NEWS TO US when Jesus says that he is the gate?  Because he is saying LIFE is found in me…THROUGH me!  It is vitally important that we all get this:  what seems simple and basic here is life altering.

Life is defined two ways: One is super misleading; one is everything!

  • Life #1: Physical Life (your birthdate until now.)
  • Life #2: Spiritual LIFE (the moment you enter the gate who is Jesus Christ and surrender to his leading until forever!)

We must STOP treating JESUS like he is an add-on to our already existing life…a get out of HELL free carda genie in a lamp to answer your most pressing problems…a supplier of all of life’s needed tools and resources.  START living life THROUGH Jesus every moment, Realize: HE IS LIFE!

“We must go to war with consumer Christianity”

Read again: John 10:9

When Jesus says come in and out, he is not saying, “Hey come and visit me sometimes, and at other times you can go off by yourself.”  He is saying that THROUGH ME you do life…the in and out…daily little and big things of life.  He is saying, “IN Me, THROUGH ME you are ALIVE…so live!  Enjoy the Pasture I am to you!”

Read: Romans 6:23

Read again: John 10:10

­Only through JESUS will we experience the abundant life.  I hope you see this like you have never seen it before.

The Abundant Life is not Heaven; it is not a prosperous temporary life in the here and now. IT IS LIFE WITH GOD.

He is our prize, our joy, our strength, our satisfaction.  He is all we need and could ever truly want! 

Read again: John 10:11-14

WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT JESUS?

There are two very important things here in the text:

  1. I KNOW my sheep

Before we go further we have to acknowledge that if he is the Shepherd then We are sheep!  But, why sheep?

Of all the animal kingdom, which are you and I most like? There are several different opinions these days:

-Charles Darwin claimed that the monkey was the nearest animal to man

– Biologists tend to think that man is most like a mouse or a rat.

-Some scientists say that we are a lot like ants or bees because like humans they are social creatures that live in highly structured societies.

-Others have recently compared people to dolphins because of the similar ratio of brain mass to body size.

So why is it that in the Bible we are MOST often compared to SHEEP?  David, the psalmist, a shepherd himself, employed this analogy repeatedly.  In Psalm 100:3 he said, “…we are [God’s] people and the SHEEP of His pasture.”  In Psalm 77:2 he wrote, “God, You lead Your people like a flock…”  In Psalm 79:13says, “We, Your people, the sheep of Your pasture will give You thanks forever.”  In Psalm 23, his most popular Psalm containing this comparison, David said, “The Lord is my shepherd…” Throughout the Bible we see this same parallel drawn between man and sheep.  Isaiah 40:11 says that God, “…tends His flock like a Shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart. He gently leads those that are with young.”  I believe this God inspired comparison is in His word so often because, of all the animals God created, the species that most NEEDS guidance is SHEEP.

Now what do we know about sheep?

I- on the whole we know SHEEP are pretty stupid and stubborn animals.   Ask yourself, have you ever seen a group of trained sheep in a circus? Of course not. You’ve seen trained apes and even trained mice or rats or dolphins but not sheep.

And you probably never will because sheep are just too simple-minded.

II- Sheep are dirty and wayward.  Real sheep aren’t like those clean, fluffy balls of cotton depicted on greeting cards. And if you’ve ever seen the southern end of a northbound herd, you’ll know why. They can’t keep themselves clean, and they smell atrocious.  Plus, they tend to wander off easily, perhaps because they can’t see very far—less than 15 yards. And, no matter how many times you bring wayward sheep back, they are prone to wander off again because they don’t learn from their mistakes.

III – Sheep are defenseless and dependent. They don’t have much of a bite.  No natural defense, no claws, no horns, no fangs, not even a stink bag like a skunk. To make matters worse they are top-heavy and their legs are spindly. This makes them slow.

IV-Sheep are also susceptible to all kinds of diseases.  They will eat too much if you let them and get sick. They are definitely not your king-of-the-forest types.

V- Sheep are easily frightened and confused. It doesn’t take much to scramble the simple mental yolk of a nervous sheep. They’ve even been known to plunge straight over the edge of a high precipice in a panic, one following right after another.

Now, God doesn’t compare us to sheep so often in His Word to put us down.  He makes this comparison in His book so often because He wants to communicate one very important truth to us. He wants us to know that we are designed to NEED a Guide in life.  We need a Shepherd with a “rod and a staff” to protect us.

So when we read scriptures like

Isaiah 53:6   We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…

Mark 9:36  “When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”

we should be reminded that we have an inborn need for a Shepherd.  So, When Jesus says: “I am the good Shepherd”   He is really saying:  I am the only One who is qualified for this task.

In

John 11:3

So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”

(ESV)

we read that Jesus knows us by name and in

John 11:14

14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died,

(ESV)

we read that He knows us like no other guide could possibly know us!  He is not some stranger—some hired hand—some substitute teacher paid to do the job. NO, Jesus knows us.   And when we are honest with ourselves we want to be known by him!

Did you know the relationship between sheep and shepherds was different in Palestine than in other parts of the world? For example, in Britain most sheep are kept for killing and eating but in Palestine most sheep were kept for their wool or milk. So in the land of the Bible, the sheep were often with a shepherd for years—many times from birth throughout their entire lives. Those shepherds KNEW their sheep and gave them names!

This leads us to a deeper understanding of Shepherds; shepherds know their sheep and go to great lengths to acquire them and care for them.   WHY? Because their investment into a flock is their life.

It is super important that shepherds know their sheep well.  Sheep are the most helpless of the all the animals.  They are not smart at all.  They will follow each other like no other animal.  Most animals enjoy and grow in their freedom, but not sheep.  They lose direction and purpose.

So, what is Jesus saying by comparing us to sheep?  He is saying:   “We are utterly Spiritually Dependent!”

Just look at the way we do life!  We are constantly making lame choices…that reap harvests of failure.

One of the ways we get by in life is that we don’t know everything about each other—because if we did, if people knew the depths of who we are and the darkness of some of our life—people would turn on us.  So, out of fear, we keep a certain level of distance.  We don’t want to be known deep down for fear of not having anyone stand by us anymore.

Here is the kicker about Jesus being the true Shepherd…he knows his sheep…he knows us inside and out and instead of turning and running when he gets close to our baggage and stink he does the unthinkable…HE lays down his life!

Read again: John 10:11-13

  1. I LAY DOWN MY LIFE for my sheep

The hired hand runs, the true shepherd will go to great lengths to defend his flock.

Here is what we must understand about sheep: even though they were dumb, they were super valuable! Every part of a sheep can be used for great profit and utility! This is why it was not uncommon for a shepherd to leave the 99 and chase after the 1!

But Jesus says not me…when the wolves come…I love my sheep so much I become the LAMB myself!   I lay down my life for the sheep. The Greek preposition used here for the English word “for” means “in the place of.” So what Jesus is saying is not what it first seems. At first glance it looks like Jesus is calling us dumb lost animals incapable of anything. But what it is really saying is we are so valuable—so loved—he breaks all logic wide open and dies for us so that the wolves will not get us!

WHY?  So we can have LIFE!    Again who Jesus is to us…He is LIFE!

Now, we NEED a Shepherd, but God has also designed in us that we BE Shepherds to those around us. The same way that Jesus is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD!   When we have JESUS IN us we are called to be THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD TO those around us!  JEUS IS NOT HERE IN BODILY FORM, he has chosen to live in his people and move and work though this people!

I want us to turn to Ezekiel because I want us to see how we can tend to resist this amazing opportunity to lead as Shepherds to those around us.  As we read in Ezekiel 34, understand and remember the rulers of the people where often called shepherds.  They were to be strong caring leaders who guarded their nation like a flock.  But they were failing and so God sent his Prophet to speak against the false actions of the SHPEHERDS of the day.

Read: Ezekiel 34:1-3

False Practice #1—Selfishness: They did not serve the flock as their first priority.  They put their own interests first above those they were called to lead.   They had added to their wealth at the expense of the common people.

Read: Ezekiel 34:4

False Practice #2—Apathy: They treated the people harshly and failed to care for them and their health.  A good shepherd will lead his sheep to food, protect them from attack, nurse them to health and look for them if they get lost! Instead the false shepherds ruled harshly and brutally!

Read: Ezekiel 34:5-6

False Practice #3—Absence: They had complete disregard for their people’s whereabouts and let them be scattered without looking for them. In shepherd life the scattering of the sheep was the worse thing possible because they were so dumb and not able to find their way back together. Additionally they were so hard to round up!

In the old testament the rulers (shepherds) failed at keeping the tribes (the sheep) together. Israel and Judah were scattered all over by the Babylonian and Assyrian Armies.   Likewise today we have a culture that is scattered.  Whereas once we were part of a culture founded on Christian teachings and morals, today we have the first generation that has a major component not connected to the church or the ways of God at all. This is affecting our kids and the following generations in major ways!  We have to stop the bleeding and return to our first love…returning the flock to the good shepherd!

The fact that they were false shepherds meant that the flock had no real shepherd.  So there are three main ways the Shepherds were blowing it:

A False Shepherd:       1. Selfish           2.  Apathetic            3. Absent  

A Good Shepherd:       1. Sacrificial      2.  Caring                 3. Present

The Good Shepherd:               

  1. Lays Down his life
  2. Leads us to pasture and provision
  3. Isn’t just present but knows us at depths we don’t know ourselves

NOW, there are two other people we can choose to be lead by or be exposed to:

The Hired Hand – The hired hand is uncommitted!  He leads with the wrong motives.

Purpose: to put in the minimum effort in order to get by and get paid!

The Thief/Robber/WOLF – The three are all the same!   Nothing but a pure lie!

Purpose: to kill, steal and destroy!

Because we are sheep we will always end up following someone.  Soldiers!  As independent as you long to be, as strong willed as you are, we are still SHEEP in need of a SHEPHERD! The question is : Which of the 4 choices are you following?

-A False Shepherd- someone who has acted as a lead in your life but has lead you poorly

-A Hired Hand-someone who is put in a position over you in life but has no real interest in your growth or well-being.   Instead, he leads out of duty

-A thief/Robber/Wolf-someone who has lied to you and somehow gained your trust with all intentions to use you and then throw you out

-The Good Shepherd-the only one who knows you inside and out and still loves you with a greater commitment than anyone you have ever known. He proved his love by laying down his life so that you could live and grow and enjoy HIM!

What kind of shepherd will you be to those God has entrusted to your care?

a thief who will use and abuse those who follow you

a Hired hand who will run when it gets hard

a godly Shepherd who will lie down, who invests into others in a sacrificial, caring and present way!

Back in EZEKIEL … GOD Promised that because the rulers of the day failed in being Good Shepherds … he would step in and care for the Sheep himself!

Read: Ezekiel 34:11-16

Jesus says:   I am the Good Shepherd!

WHY IS THIS GOOD NEWS to you and me?

Read:  Psalm 23

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD…”     Do you get the subtle emphasis there? GOD WON’T BE your shepherd until He becomes your LORD. Are you following and living for the GOOD SHEPHERD or someone else? Shepherds lead, sheep follow.   He won’t lead you until you commit your life to follow Him.

by His grace and for His glory,

-Shepherd

Soldiers for Jesus MC

Bakersfield CA

September 12

John 10

10:1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

(ESV)

September 11

John 9

9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

(ESV)

September 10

John 8

8:1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

(ESV)