“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.’ John 10:1 (NIV)
How sweet and how accurate is Jesus´ description of our spiritual situation that we find here in the first part of John 10? Do we simply enjoy it for its poetic beauty? Or can we use it to grow our need for Christ? What do the words speak to us now as we consider them? Does the Holy Spirit illuminate those words for us? Are we getting still enough to hear His voice? Have we left enough of ourselves and our busy lives aside to allow Him to work in us even in this moment as we speak? Do we come to the Scriptures with all our answers already formed? Or are we willing to be led even now in this moment as we turn our thoughts heavenward?
Some people always turn to their mentors to find their confirmation. They go to the ones who formed their beliefs way back when they were still moldable. Some people follow the trends of the times. There are many popular teachers on every given subject. We could turn this way and that. But do the words of Jesus cut through the chaos of our noisy scene? Could Jesus be pointing out again His un-expendable quality? Is He pointedly giving us a clue as to how we should be approaching God? If we like to have everything in black and white, perhaps we like to find our definition and translation of every text clearly defined and settled once-and-for-all. We might look for another person who views things the way we like and use them to confirm our ideas. If we are honest, can we see where we do this each day?
Over and against this tendency of ours to finalize our beliefs, we have Jesus´ description of Himself as a Shepherd. Does this place Him as the One to whom we go? Does it mean that we would follow Him before any others? Should we keep explicitly clear in every given moment exactly where we stand with Him? Would all other influences need to have as their primary goal to assist us in every Way to return to and approach our Shepherd personally and completely? To demonstrate His right to be this single-most important personal Guide, does He give us this rule? Is He telling us now that there Is only One Who passed through the Gate He describes? Is it only Jesus Who was able to walk through the gate of sacrificing His life for ours? Was it only He Who was able to pay the price of our ransom?
Where will we go now to prove or disprove our questions? Do we need to seek out some fellow brother or sister in Christ to confirm our hearts leaning on our issues? Or could the Lord be asking us to bow our knees in prayer? Could we afford to let the Spirit of God direct where to place importance? Would He respond to our honest attempt to listen for His guidance? Or is there someone else we trust more? Do we prefer to lean on our own capable shoulders? Is it our church or denomination that we trust to have all the answers? Or is Jesus the One who Is still worthy to lead us? Is He the One Who passed through the gate and proved to be our Shepherd? Can we recognize His voice? Will we respond to His personal touch? Is He the One Who is leading us through our gate today?
Dear Jesus, many are the voices which would lead our thoughts. But there is One that we long to hear over the rest. We want Your personal touch in our lives! We want to respond to Your wishes for us and Your guidance! We want to recognize when and where You are leading us now! Let us hear Your voice. Show us where urgency and importance lie. Be our Shepherd now today, and lead us where You will we pray!