Reading: John 10:1-10
Verse 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.”
The teaching that we read today is Jesus’ further response to what happened in chapter 9. It is the story of the healing of the blind man and the Pharisees’ reaction. At the end of this event the blind man sees Jesus as Lord and professes faith in him while the Pharisees remain spiritually blind, bound up in their strict adherence to the Law. They cannot see how the need for healing could ever supercede the Law.
Today’s illustration shows the difference between living the spirit of the Law and living out the letter of the Law. In one there is love and grace. Jesus declares that those who follow him know his voice. They hear the truths that he preaches… He calls to these and leads them out into the world. And “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” The sheep continue to follow Jesus because they can discern his voice from all the others. By contrast, the Pharisees cannot hear Jesus’ teachings. They are instead trying to climb into the fold by means other than the gate. Instead of hearing the word of God revealed through the teachings and example set by Jesus they’ve turned the Law into an extensive code to follow that has no room for things like healing on the Sabbath. Those who use religion as power are they who “come only to steal and kill and destroy.”
What Jesus offers is radically different. He invites people to live a life of faith, found through entering a relationship with him. He proclaims that these “will be saved.” As wonderful as that is, the offer isn’t just a way into heaven. It’s not about strict adherence to a code of Law that leaves one devoid of love and grace. No, Jesus states, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” A life filled with love and grace and blessing. This thought evokes the overflow of abundance found in the 23rd Psalm. Life to the full! Thanks be to God!
Prayer: Lord God, open my eyes to see all that you place before me. Open my ears to hear all that you have to share with me. Open my heart to respond to you and others in love and grace as I seek to serve you alone today. Amen.