Sunday, December 20, 2009

Seeing Christmas in a New Light

“And Jesus said, for judgment I am come into this world, that they who see not, might see; and that they who see, might be made blind.” – John 9:39

Jesus spoke of ‘spiritual sight’ not physical. The religious leaders boasted of spirituality but in reality were spiritually blind. They were the paparazzi of Jesus day, following Jesus only to stand witness against Him at His slightest transgression of their law. In chapter 9 of John and verse 14 they seize opportunity; Jesus had healed a man born blind – on the Sabbath! Some of the Pharisees attempt to press Jesus into further self-incrimination by asking, “are we blind also?”

So Jesus decides to present to them the entire plan and purpose of His coming in a most glorious, and yet subtle manner. Let’s look at that purpose in John 10.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” – John 10:1

“But He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep” – John 10:2

“To Him the Porter openeth, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calleth His own sheep by name and leadeth them out.” – John 10:3

“And when He putteth forth His won sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him; for they know His voice.” – John 10:4

“And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.” - John 10:5

Notice that at this point, no one understood what Jesus was saying! And so, Jesus begins to, “flesh-out” his analogy - only to create even more confusion; maybe even to us today!

“Then said Jesus unto them again, ‘verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” – John 10:7

“All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not hear them.” – John 10:8

I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” – John 10:11

Simple enough – right? Look again…

Sit, for a moment, as if you were one of His disciples. What did He just say? He is the door? He is the shepherd?


Didn’t He say (vs.1) “he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber”? What is the sheepfold – heaven? IS THERE ANOTHER WAY BESIDES THE DOOR?

Didn’t He say (2) “He that entereth in by the DOOR is the SHEPHERD of the sheep”? Wait a minute - is He the door or the shepherd? How can He be both? Can He enter HIM?

(3) Who is the Porter – I mean, besides being a door-man? And from where is this shepherd leading the sheep?

We now begin to understand their confusion. Going further verse 9 poses additional problems. If Jesus is the door – why would anyone want to go in and out?

Let’s review the passage once again in the spirit of the Christmas Story.

This world in which we live is a vast sheepfold filled with many sheep. Jesus chose to enter this world in a very miraculous way. As you look at verses 1 – 3 we see a striking parallel to Luke 1: 26 – 35 wherein the angel Gabriel visits Mary and announces the coming birth of Jesus. In Luke 1:34 Mary asks a very logical question:

“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"

Listen to what the angel says; it is important for us to understand his reply so that we can see more clearly what Jesus is saying in John 10.

“And the angel answered, and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

The Holy Spirit is the Porter opening the door of the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus into the sheepfold of the world. Anyone claiming previously to be the shepherd was a thief and a robber. No one had entered the world in this manner before or since. It is a CLOSED DOOR, entered and shut by Jesus.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls His sheep by name. His sheep hear Him and He goes before them and leads them out of the confines of this world and its system to a citizenship eternally with Him. He is the OPEN DOOR of the sheep. He remains open today for any who will spiritually hear His voice.

He is the REVOLVING DOOR (9) of fellowship leading to the throne of God in prayer by which we find pleasant pasture (Psalms 23) before Him and in our daily lives.

In John 10:24 a frustrated crowd demands:

“…How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly!”

Jesus responds with comfort to those whose eyes are open and who hear His voice:

“Jesus answered then, I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believed not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to Me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and My Father are ONE!” - John 10:30

That is pretty plain talk, isn’t it?

What a wonderful gift Jesus has given! What a wonderful story God has revealed through John. In the hustle and bustle of this Christmas Season, have you heard His voice? Has he touched your spiritual eyes so that you can see Him for Who He really is? Have you received His gift?

Finding balance and living within God’s will begins with becoming part of His family. He calls and offers Himself through His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection!

Merry Christmas!

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