“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NIV)
The life and work of a shepherd was a well known occupation from Old Testament times. When Jesus was on this earth walking among the people he used familiar words to describe Himself – one of them was to described Himself as the Good Shepherd. Those who followed Him were His sheep. Like the sheep cared for by their shepherd, followers of Jesus know and listen to His voice. That means, of course, that Jesus speaks to His followers. We hear his voice as we read the Bible or as we listen to others reading from it. He has so much to tell us. When we read in the Old Testament we can sense Him speaking to us. He speaks to us in the New Testament too. We can hear Him in His teaching to the disciples and the people as recorded by the Gospel writers. We also hear his voice in the letters written to the churches. Jesus also speaks to us in our hearts through our consciences and He uses the Bible to confirm what he says. Jesus often said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Let’s be sure we’re listening.
“That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.” – John 21:7 (ESV)
Just after His resurrection, Jesus had promised to meet his disciples in Galilee. Before that, an angel at the empty tomb had given the two Mary’s the message from Jesus. “…he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Now, I have told you.”(Matthew 28:7) The disciples were introduced to a new normal for their lives. Have you ever had a crisis in which you deliberately and emphatically and recklessly abandoned everything? This is the state Peter is in and he has gone fishing, back to his old life. Peter undoubtedly had a sense of failure over his sin in denying the Lord. For Peter it is a crisis of will He wants so to be restored and nothing will be in his way. We may come up to such a crisis many times externally, but it amounts to nothing. Oswald Chambers says, “The real deep crisis of abandonment is reached internally, not externally. It is a transaction of will, not of emotion; the emotion is simply the gilt-edge of the transaction. If you have heard Jesus Christ’s voice on the billows, let your convictions go to the winds, let your consistency go to the winds, but maintain your relationship to Him.”*
*Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year, (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” – John 5:39-40 (NASB)
When think about it, the Bible we have in our home has an important purpose. It is more important than what many realize. Our verse for today records the words of Jesus as He was challenging the “experts” of the time. They fancied themselves as proficient in the Holy Scriptures, the Law and the Prophets. The Jewish religious leaders studied the Old Testament with great diligence. They believed that by comprehending the words of the text, one would gain a share in the world to come. Knowing the Law was knowing eternal life with God. Jesus says, not so much if you reject what the Scriptures say about Me. Many people today also think Bible study is an end in itself rather than a way to understand the knowledge of God. Today, much like in that time, a veil is over the minds of those who presume to be Biblical scholars and experts in theology. Preferring their own way by means of their “reasoning” they fail to understand what God’s Word says. Our promise today is: Our Bible lacks nothing as it contains all God wants us to know about Him, His will, and His eternal plan for us.
(Good Friday & The Arrest of Jesus the Nazarene)
When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” – John 18:6 (ESV)
Of all the times Jesus used the words “I AM” to identify Himself, this occasion might be the one with the greatest impact on his audience. The Temple Police with a band of Roman soldiers have been sent to find and arrest Jesus with the help of the betrayer Judas Iscariot. Filled with Satan Judas leads them to where he knows Jesus would be with the disciples. Like many other times, Judas knew they would be camping out on the ground in an olive orchard. But, not on this night and Jesus having prayed, knows what’s next. When the arresting officials come, Jesus asks them who they are looking for. “Jesus of Nazareth” they say. “I Am He,” Jesus says. They all fall over backward. It takes two times of Jesus asking and saying “I Am.” The words which Jesus spoke are found in passages we have considered over the past few days. (Mark 6; John 6, 8, 10, 14, 15). In each of them it refers to that act of Jesus whereby he stands guard over the spiritual welfare of his own, keeping them, sustaining service, and everlasting life in the mansions above. That’s our promise today.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” – John 15:1
It is Thursday evening. Jesus and His closest disciples are in an upstairs room. Jesus is sharing His last Passover meal with them. They will be His Apostles and Jesus is also transforming the meal and establishing Holy Communion. These words are part of the Last Supper teaching. Jesus, knowing that very night He would be betrayed by one of them, arrested, tried and sentenced to death. His long hours of suffering would soon begin. Before 6 p.m. Friday He would be dead. Over and over Jesus was telling them that He and the Father are joined in one purpose. Jesus is the true vine from which all others are born into and serve the Kingdom of God. Jesus is about to pay the ultimate price to preserve the fruit forever. Judas, the betrayer has left their company. The other disciples will see Judas once more and then never again. The promises we have are woven throughout this chapter. Promises of abiding, sustaining, pruning, and bearing much fruit. Promises of direct access to God to ask for whatever we need in the name of Jesus. And the promise that we will all be filled with Christ’s joy.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7 (ESV)
Our promise today is pure, and powerful. For all who hope to live in heaven after our time on earth is over, Jesus is the only Way there. There are no options to having faith in Jesus the Christ. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about His death and departure and they still do not understand. Jesus tells them He is going to be leaving them but one day He will return for them. “You know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:4) But Thomas says, “No, Lord we don’t know where you are going, how do you expect us to know the way?” Thomas needed to understand that “The Way” was not a pathway or route to heaven but the means to receive eternal life and a reservation e in heaven, then these words make sense. Jesus the Son of God and God the Father; – to know one, is to know the other and The Way. No pretense, no self-effort, no good enough, no buying our way; it is only in believing Jesus, His sacrifice and resurrection. If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, you know God the Father, you know The Way.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26 (ESV)
This passage records Jesus’ lesson on life, death, and resurrection. Lazarus, a friend died and was in the tomb for four days. Jesus hearing Lazarus was near death delayed going to Bethany. By the time He and is disciples arrive it is too late – at least according to Martha first and Mary later. Their home was now a house of mourning. Jesus missed his opportunity to save Lazarus from this death. Both Mary and Martha tell Jesus that their brother would not have died if Jesus had been there. Jesus promises that Lazarus will rise again. Martha agrees believing Jesus is talking about eventual resurrection of all believers. Jesus states that He is Himself The Resurrection and The Life. “Do you believe this?” He asks Martha. Yes, she confirms her faith that Jesus is the Christ. These awesome promises are for us⸺Now!. They cause immense joy to erupt within our hearts and banish all fear of death. We who believe in Christ, physical death is only temporary, we are alive spiritually in Christ. This is the promise of eternal life that is ours after our bodies die. And, we are promised new bodies like unto Christ’s resurrection body.
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:9-10 (ESV)
It is this chapter Jesus uses the tending of sheep by a shepherd and compares that practice to His purpose and plan for our lives. One of the most important responsibilities is protection of the flock. The pens or sheep folds that kept sheep safe were often circular with low walls and only one opening. The opening did not always have a gate and the Shepherd would lay across the opening as a door keeping the sheep inside and safe. Thieves were a threat and when the shepherd was not doing their job they would be a danger. Christ says He is the Door in the fold where He keeps us, His church. What greater security does the church of God have? Our Lord Jesus is between us and all enemies and threats that seek to destroy us? Those who seek to become a part of God’s flock must come into the family by the only way, Jesus Christ. By faith in him as our Mediator between God and man. We also have precious promises given to us who observe His directions. He promises us security and life; and all we need for an abundant life in Christ.
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.” – John 8:12 (ESV)
If we could travel through time and found ourselves in the past, the time of Genesis 1:1, we would not be able to see anything at all. The earth was formless with nothing but deep darkness covering it. It was the Son of God, Creator of all things* who created light by speaking it into existence and separated the light from the darkness. If we understand this we’ll recognize that Jesus Christ, who spoke the promises in this verse for today, is the one and same Son of God who created all including light for the world. Christ is the Light of the world. God is light, and Christ is the visible image of God. One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs to be no more. What a dark dungeon would be the world without our sun! So would life be be without Jesus, by whom light came into the world. Those who follow Christ shall not walk in darkness. We shall are not left without THE TRUTHS necessary to keep us from destructive the path and provide directions in the way necessary to keep them from condemning sin.
*(John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:15-17)
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. – John 6:35 (NASB)
The Gospel of John records seven occasions of Jesus declaring His program and who He is with “I AM” statements. He selectively connects some of these claims to signs authenticating His claims. In today’s passage Christ announces, “I Am the Bread of Life.” It follows after the feeding of more than 5000 people from only five small loaves and two fish. They clamored for more signs. For them it was all about their physical needs but Jesus knows their need is spiritual. The miracle of manna provided in the wilderness, Jesus told them it came from His Father, not Moses. The bread Jesus offers is Himself and He too comes from The Father in heaven. The bread which he offers is eternal life to those who believe. The only way to get that bread was to believe what Jesus said and why He came to earth. “Lord, give us this bread” they asked. “I AM the bread of life,” Jesus replied. “My promise is to all who come to Me will receive God’s provision of life and won’t be spiritually hungry or thirsty again.” If you have not, believe Jesus now and receive an abundant and fulfilled spiritual life today.