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014 - Shepherds, Sheep and Shouting

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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October 31, 2020 1:00 pm

014 - Shepherds, Sheep and Shouting

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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October 31, 2020 1:00 pm

Episode 14: Shepherds, Sheep and Shouting

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More Than Ink
Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, did you see all those sheep walking through town this week? I sure did. Did you notice the shepherd?

I did. Yeah, he was out in front leading them. He was out in front leading and they listened to his voice.

He was talking to them. Yeah, and you know that has a connection to what we're reading today in John 10. John 10, the good shepherd. The sheep know his voice and they follow him.

Today, More Than Ink. Good morning to this wonderful October Saturday morning. I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy.

And we're glad that you're back with us. We hope you've done your homework and you've read ahead to John 10. Oh, John 10, the good shepherd. Really, the good shepherd. In fact, we just had a sheep event in town here. We did. We live in Brigham City and once a year they bring the sheep down from their high pasture and walk them right through town.

Through the middle of downtown. We just saw that yesterday and it's always so lovely to think about the nature of sheep and to breathe the dust and to watch how the shepherds interact with them. It's just always instructive. Yeah, and this is not like 20 or 30 sheep. This is 100. No, this is actually a couple thousand, I think.

Is it a couple thousand? Yeah. Yeah, and they walk them right through the residential part of town.

Houses on both sides of the road. It's very fun. I always spend a day ruminating on the nature of sheep afterwards and the nature of shepherds. So we got our sheep stuff down today and we're going to look at shepherds and sheep and all that kind of stuff. But it is interesting that in this particular case, if you're going to take a couple thousand sheep through town, you don't drive them. You lead them. You lead them. There's a guy in front and they just follow them and that's kind of what Jesus is going to talk about today as we look at it. So just out of the blue in John 10, Jesus just starts out with something that they all know so well. They know sheep.

They know shepherds. And so he just launches right into that without really making a connection up front, but he eventually gets there. So let me just read for you.

Okay. He just jumps right in. Something that they know. He's like, I call this Captain Obvious. He's telling them something that they know so well, but he's going to make a point with it.

Okay, but wait. Before you start, maybe let's just remind people that we just finished Chapter 9 and the chapter division is not John's inspired word. Exactly. So in John's mind, this follows immediately, logically, from what he had just told us about the blind.

And I came into this world for judgment to separate the seeing from the not seeing, the believing from the not believing. Right. And so he's talking about himself. And so while it doesn't seem to be an apparent connection, it is.

It is. So maybe that's one of our study techniques. Sometimes just ignore the chapter changes. Right. And always ask yourself the question when you're reading like a whole gospel, how does this relate to what went before? What was just being told to me? What is going to be repeated?

How does this connect to that? Yeah. You know, many people may not realize that in the original manuscripts, when these are written down on papyrus, there were no chapters and there were no verse numbers. Right. And not even punctuation.

There were no periods. Right. So you've got to, I mean, just pretend that none of this stuff is there and it's just a continuation of the previous one because that's the way it was written down. Right. Okay.

So let's jump into it. Okay. And the conversation had been about the Pharisees. About the Pharisees. Who regarded themselves as the shepherds of Israel.

The shepherds of Israel. Okay. There we go. Are we ready now? Are we ready? Okay.

One, two, three. Here we go. So chapter 10, verse one. So, truly, truly, this is Jesus talking. 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 and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

That's what we just saw. We saw the shepherds leading him through town. And when he has brought out all of 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. And then John explains to us, this figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

It's funny that they wouldn't understand because they were totally acquainted with the idea of flocks of sheep being led. In the normal sense. Right.

It's more like they're not sure why he's saying it. Right. Why are we talking about this now? Yeah.

I don't understand why this is coming up. But Jesus does explain it in the next breath. You want to take it from there? Sure.

Sure. So Jesus knowing that they're not getting it. Verse seven, Jesus said again to them, truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. The way that the sheep should go. 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. Okay.

I'm going to stop there for a minute because he has repeated himself three or four times already. I'm the door. The sheep know my voice. They don't listen to bad guys. They listen to good guys. They listen to the one who loves them.

Okay. Pick it up in verse 10. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who's a hired hand and not a shepherd, who doesn't own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

He flees because he's a hired hand and he cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. Okay. I want to, let's stop there for a second. Yeah. Go ahead.

No. Great. You've had something to say.

I always have something to say. He makes this amazing contrast between himself as the good shepherd and thieves and robbers and hired hands. So you know. And so of course the people are saying, okay, I know why you're talking about this. If you're the good shepherd, then who's the bad shepherd?

Okay. So a thief is somebody who sneaks in in the dark and steals under cover of night or by fraud. A robber is somebody who will confront you in the broad daylight and just take your stuff.

And a hired hand is somebody who's only in it for the job. So at this point I started thinking when I was reading this of Ezekiel 34 where Ezekiel is talking about the shepherds of Israel. And now the religious leaders of Israel, the Pharisees, the priests, regarded themselves as the shepherds of Israel. So I want you to just listen. That's what they're supposed to be doing. That's what they're supposed to be doing. So listen to Ezekiel 34.

And I might add an ad to that. A shepherd seldom owns the sheep. Oh right.

A shepherd is working for someone else. So his job is to take care of someone else's property. Right. Right. As if he was the owner himself. Exactly.

Okay. So listen to Ezekiel 34. I'm going to read about three or four verses. Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, thus says the Lord God, whoa, shepherds of Israel who should have been feeding the sheep, but they're feeding themselves. Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool.

You slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly, you should have strengthened. The diseased, you should have healed.

The broken, you should have bound up. The scattered, you've not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost, but with force and with severity you've dominated them. Oh, dominated the sheep. So that's actually the Lord talking to the shepherds of Israel back in Ezekiel's time, but that speaks so much here to those who regarded themselves as shepherds of Israel in Jesus's time. I'm sure the Pharisees did a flashback to that very passage you read because they are also wondering, as Jesus is speaking, okay, so you call yourself the good shepherd and bad shepherds.

Ezekiel, are you saying that to us? We eat the sheep. We fleece the sheep. Right.

Right. We eat the sheep or clothe themselves with the wool. They're supposed to take care of them for other people.

It's not in it for what they can get out of it. And Jim and I, you and I, we heard a teacher one time say, you know, humans keep sheep so that we can eat them and wear their wool, but the good shepherd keeps sheep so that they can eat him and wear him. So when Jesus says, I'm the good shepherd, all of that immediately comes back to my mind, keeping us so that we can be fed by him, nourished by him, and be clothed by him. So at this point, he's identified in the story he's the good shepherd. We know implicitly that the Pharisees are the bad shepherds. They're kind of flashing back to Ezekiel, you know. By the way, too, if you're wondering who the good shepherd is, although Jesus already said he is the good shepherd, we also remember in Psalm 23 that the Lord is my shepherd.

He's making a connection with the Father, with himself. So now the question is, who are the sheep? Okay, so here we go. I'm going to pick it up back in verse 14. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep, and I have other sheep that are not of this fold, I must bring them also and they'll listen to my voice. Oh, they will listen. They will listen. To my voice.

That indicates a desire to hear. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me. Remember they already had a murder plot in mind for him. 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've received from my Father. And I think at this point, even still, back in verse 6, he said he didn't understand what he was saying to them. I think on this whole stuff about laying down his life for the sheep, they don't know what Jesus is talking about himself.

They weren't there yet. They know that a real shepherd will do this if a bear or a lion comes in. He'll actually die defending, but they're thinking, well, you're the good shepherd and you're going to die? I think this is an investment in the crucifixion time so that when they actually did see him die, you know, this conundrum in their mind, which would be, well, if he's the Messiah, he can't die. And then someone might say, remember that day he talked about the shepherd and the sheep? It said he would lay down his life.

Is this that? Well, and it's also a veiled reference to knowing that the leaders already had a murder plot working against him. He says, you guys think you're going to take my life, but I'm rather going to give it. I lay it down willingly and I will take it up again. You will not have the last word.

I'll take it up again. So again, the expectation of the crucifixion, you know, this whole parable right here, it's not really a parable, but this example, this illustration might've been the key for them understanding why he was on the cross. And it might've been the key in the following days when people would say, remember, he not only said he would lay down his life, but he would take it up again. So he's already, he'll be more explicit about that later on in John and the other gospels. He's very explicit about it, but here he's saying, this is what a good shepherd does. This is what a good shepherd does. Well, so again, this brings back the whole discussion about his identity. There's this division. If the Lord is my shepherd, Psalm 23, if the bad shepherds are the leaders of Israel, according to Ezekiel, then who is Jesus saying he is when he says he is the good shepherd? He's the good shepherd.

So if you pick it up in 19, he closes out the whole sheep issue here. There was again a division. There was again an actual argument. They could not decide among the Jews because of these words. And many of them said, well, he has a demon and he is insane.

So why listen to him? But the other said, these are not the words of one who's oppressed by demon and. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?

They remember it had only been a very short period of time since that had happened. So the Pharisees have come up with a very bad explanation for all of this. You know, Jesus must be from the dark side and they're saying, well, he can't be from the dark side if he heals blind eyes.

Come on now. So you see this healing the blind man in the previous chapter, it's a milepost that's stuck in the ground that they just cannot get away from. It is just too overt.

You can't do anything with it. They're just stuck. So they either will believe who he is or you won't. But it's not a matter of whether Jesus is being kind of arbitrary or vague about it because when he claims to be the good shepherd and he heals a blind man, there's no debate. Right. Because that Ezekiel passage has said, you haven't healed the hurt ones. You haven't bound up the lame.

You haven't cared for the hungry. And here I am doing it right in your face. Right. Right.

Yeah. There's actually another reference he'll connect to in a second here from Psalm 82 where God is condemning those leaders who are supposed to take care of God's people. And he says, you need to rescue the weak and the needy and deliver them from the hand of the wicked. But in the rest of Psalm 82, he says, you're not doing that.

So you, boy, get engaged on the behalf of the good of the sheep. And that's why we always, we quote so often in this section before we leave the sheep behind that Jesus talks about the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. That's what Satan's intention is in your life. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. He's not there to bring you life, although he promises you things that to you look like they would add to your life, but they won't. But he says, the good shepherd, the good shepherd is the one who not only lays down his life for the sheep, but because he is the good shepherd, he came that they might have a life and have it abundantly. He gives you life.

He doesn't take your life. Exactly. So that's what Jesus' intention. And if, you know, if anyone asks you, you know, what's Jesus all about?

Well, like a good shepherd, he's all about giving us life and giving it abundantly. So that's, that's where that comes from. Well, should we move on? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Verse 22, at that time, the Feast of Dedication took place in Jerusalem and it was winter.

Okay. So that's actually the Feast of Hanukkah, right? The rededication of the temple after the period of time where they had run out of oil.

And that's back in the intertestamental period. There's very little biblical reference to it. This might be one of the very few.

Yeah, it might be the only one. So I don't want to elaborate that, but John tells us this is in the winter time. And so Jesus was walking in the temple in the Colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, how long will you keep us in suspense? If you're the Christ, tell us plainly. Okay. Tell us plainly.

This is another head smack moment. Like haven't I told you enough? Tell us plainly. 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, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. Oh, sheep are back. My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. And I give them eternal life and they will never perish.

And no one will snatch them out of my hand. 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. I and the Father are one. So they pressed him for an answer to tell them plainly and he gave it. Tell us plainly. And his first response is, I have and he has. And I'm gonna tell you again. And he says, and if that's not good enough for you, how about the works I did?

Those are witnesses to me as well. So what is it you're missing through? So we come back to this point that it's not an inability to hear. It's an unwillingness. It's an unwillingness. And that's just a really big deal. And in fact, the unwillingness is a characteristic of sheep that are not his. And that's an interesting thing.

Yeah. That's interesting. You know, we talked about all those sheep that we saw coming through town yesterday and they all have markings on their back so that they can tell them apart, but they have identified themselves as one flock when they're being led through town that way. And they hang together. I watched, standing on the sidewalk, I watched one or two of them sometimes come off and chase down a little weed that was growing in the cracks.

It didn't take very long before they realized, whoop, I'm falling behind. And the shepherds would come along behind them and kind of help them. And they would scatter up and pick up speed and get back in the flock. Yeah, exactly. So Jesus is identifying the fact here that if you're not a listener, then you're not a sheep.

And that's tremendously a problem. Not only that, but he says, you know, you read around 28, 29, that the sheep, the true sheep he's talking about are someone who are in the father's hand. Right. You see that in 29, in the father's hand. But it's also sheep that are in his hand, verse 28. He's almost, you know, look at 28. He's equating himself with the father.

No one will snatch them out of my hand in 28 and no one's able to snatch them out of the father's hand in 29. Right. Gotcha.

I've gotcha. And Jesus says, I and the father are one. Our relationship to the sheep is identical.

Yeah. If I have you, the father has you. And if the father has you, then I have you. And he had said in chapter seven and chapter eight, right, I do the works of my father. If you want to see the father, you're seeing him in me. I speak the words of my father. I never do anything that displeases my father. He's already so closely associated himself with the father.

He says, I and the father are one. Right. Pure identity. Pure identity.

You know, another kind of study skill that you might want to do or might not, doesn't matter. If you're into history and you go back and wonder about Hanukkah or your Feast of Dedication or the Feast of Lights, it's called, there was a guy in that whole thing who basically, in a very heroic way, guaranteed the survival of Judaism in the midst of a tight Greek kind of culture. This guy, Judas Maccabeus. So he, in a sense, he was sort of what people thought of when they thought of a messiah, someone who would save the Jews from whatever's going on.

So that context does sort of salt why it is they came to him and said, tell us plainly if you're that guy. Right. Right. Are you like the Judas Maccabeus from 150 years ago? Make your claim. Yeah. Are you going to do something? What are you going to do?

It would be a natural question. But interestingly enough, instead of being like a Judas Maccabeus who kind of casts off the bad guys and the Jews are restored and stuff like that, Jesus goes back to talking about the fact that my role is as a good shepherd and I'm here for my sheep and these sheep are God's sheep. He's actually the owner of the flock and I'm the great shepherd. And so he just reinforces again, this is what I'm about.

I'm here to maintain the life of the sheep. I'm not to throw out Rome and all the bad guys like Judas Maccabeus did 160 years ago. It's a whole different kind of thing.

So as a study skill, if you're curious, you can tie some connections back to the original Hanukkah, but you won't find Hanukkah, look for Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication. That's kind of what goes on. That's why the question was bandied about. Tell us plainly. Yeah, tell us plainly. Make your claim. Are you the guy?

I am the father of one. So let's pick up the end of the story here in 31. So the Jews picked up stones again to stone him. This is what, the third time John has told us that or maybe more. And critics will say, well, Jesus never claimed to be God. Well, they did because 32, Jesus answered them.

I've shown you many good works from the father. For which of them are you going to stone me? Because by the way, you don't stone someone because of who they are.

It's because of what they do. It's for a crime. It's for a crime. So which one of those quote crimes are you getting ready to kill me? And the Jews answered him, oh, it's not for a good work that we're going to stone you, but for blasphemy because you being a man, make yourself God. So they clearly understood what he was saying in verse 30 when he says, I am the father of one.

You make yourself God. And Jesus answered them and said, well, is it not written in your law? I said, you are gods. And if he called them gods to whom the word of God came and the scripture cannot be broken, do you say of him whom the father consecrated and sent into the world, you're blaspheming? Because I said, I am, I am the son of God.

Wow. So you're going to take me down for that. But then he switches and says, okay, disregard what I said. Look at what I did. Verse seven, and if I'm not doing the works of my father, then do not believe me.

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. That was a huge statement. So again, they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

Wow. And we don't know exactly how he escaped. In other gospels it says he just, he just walked away.

He walked away. It wasn't the time, it was premature, it was premature. So he really confronts them again with the two witnesses of what he says and what he does and they say, well, we're not condemning you for what you do, although they ought to worship him because of what he does, which is really the amazing thing because the blind man did. But we're doing this because of what you claim, because you claim to be God and it's on us by law to stone those who blaspheme like this. But he was God. And so it was wrong. It's an interesting one, it's interesting too about, he says in 37, if I'm not doing the works of my father, well then don't believe me.

Don't believe me. And it's interesting that in the story of John the Baptist, when John the Baptist is in jail, he sends his guys out to Jesus and says, are you the guy? Are you the one? Right. Which is what they just asked here.

Are you the guy? Right. Right. And Jesus' response to them, this you can find in Matthew 11, he's response to them. Go back and tell them the blind are seeing, the deaf are hearing, the lame are walking.

You would just go tell him. All these works that testify that I'm the guy. That are things nobody else in the history of mankind has been able to do. Right. And that was his answer to John the Baptist and that's the answer to these guys who want to kill him. So they sought to arrest him and he escaped from there. Well, let's just finish.

Let's go from 40. So he went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first and there he remained. And many came to him. So that's down the mountain from Jerusalem and across the Jordan, it's a big flat valley there.

It's kind of isolated. And they said, John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true. And many believed in him there. So these are people who had witnessed his works and probably many of these conversations during the festival up in Jerusalem. And they're maybe on their way home when they're down the mountain and they're going to follow him like they went out into this very part of the wilderness to hear John. They're following now the one that John pointed to saying, this is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Right. And so many believe. And in fact, that last line, that word many, that word many is what will disturb all the ruling leaders of Israel because Jesus is building a real momentum of followers, a lot of followers, and that is going to be so threatening to the religious majority right there that they've realized they're going to have to take Jesus down or they're going to lose their control over the Jews. That many, many believed.

But they're not doing anything to compete with him in terms of what they are doing, what they're producing. He is simply doing the works of the Father, which is drawing the people who are seeking God, the sheep who are after God, recognize him in the shepherd. They heard his voice. And they know him. And they know him. They said, this must be the guy.

And they believed him. And this is the groundswell where Jesus goes very public at this point. And because of this very public momentum with the people, he's a target to be killed. And that's going to start dominating the narrative a little bit here. Next week, we go to John 11.

Speaking of dominating the narrative. Just when you think you can't do anything bigger than healing a blind guy, and you know for the last couple chapters, that's caused a lot of stink with a lot of people. Only God does that. Just when you think you can't do something even bigger than that, he does something bigger than that in John 11. Making it unmistakable who he is, and that he is indeed God himself.

So don't miss John 11. In an utterly hopeless situation, because like in John 9, where the man born blind had been allowed to experience a whole lifetime of blindness, specifically for the glory of God, he will deliberately and consciously allow Lazarus to not only be sick, but to die. But to die.

And we'll talk about that, because at first glance, that's really disturbing. Would God actually go to the lengths of allowing you to suffer under a physical ailment for a long time? For his purposes? I mean, does that sound right?

Does that sound fair? Isn't God in the business of healing us from these things? So we'll ask all those questions.

Those are the same questions the people who were following him were asking. Yeah. But it's also, it's a question that's been raised with the blind man already.

Would God intentionally have a blind man be blind his entire life for a purpose? So how important is the glory of God? Right.

Right. So Jesus amps it up next week. So come back for John 11. He actually goes way beyond healing a blind man and does something, well, that's kind of unbelievable, but it's unmistakable. And also, by the way, he puts a contract on Lazarus' head.

Right, because the religious leaders say, oh, look, the whole world's gone after him. Now we really have to do something. We have to do something. And so we have to kill Lazarus, too. We have to kill Lazarus, because he's a real problem. Anyway, we'll see all that next week.

Come back next week. So make sure you read John 11. It's just, it's an astonishing chapter, and I believe the entire chapter is all about the raising Lazarus.

And read it with your eyes open to what you've already seen and heard. Right. Exactly. In the context. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And come back for us next time. Thanks for being here today for More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-31 06:00:03 / 2024-01-31 06:13:05 / 13

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