The Scripture for today is John 10:1-8 10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to 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 authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Have LIFE to the FULL! Jesus’ words are so promising – so inspiring and yet, confusing. Having LIFE to the FULL in a world where there is sickness, death, divorce, crime, hate, and brokenness – things that suck the very life right out of us. How do we have life to the full when the very breath in our body is being sucked out by sin and pain? I have been reading “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard. He states “Jesus offers himself as God’s doorway into the life that is truly life.” Think about a doorway for a moment. When I come home from work, I enter a doorway into my home, a place of rest and sanctuary for me. When Gary and I married, he carried me through the doorway of our first home and we began a new life together as husband and wife. When we are baptized and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior – we step through a doorway to a transformed life of forgiveness and salvation. Doorways – entrances, gates – as we step forward in faith we experience transformation. Yes, we still live in this broken and painful world but with Jesus, we can experience LIFE to the FULL! We can cling to our Savior in the midst of pain and turmoil – he will comfort and strengthen us. When we cry out to him, he listens to our heart. He will give us comfort in the midst of trial, joy and peace as we live in this broken world and protection against the evil one who comes to steal and kill and destroy.
Lord Jesus, thank you for being our Good Shepherd. Thank you for coming that we may experience life to the full. Help us, Jesus, to reach others with the good news so that they can live a life transformed – LIFE to the FULL! I love you, Lord Jesus. Amen.