At the end of each day the shepherd brought his sheep into shelter. They knew the voice of their shepherd and came at his beckoning. So familiar was the shepherd and his sheep, that each was called by a distinct name. In the winter the sheep were usually brought to a communal village shelter which was locked and kept secure by a guardian. In the summer months the sheep were usually kept out in the fields and then gathered into a fold at night which was guarded by a shepherd throughout the night. He was literally the door through which the sheep had to pass. The scriptures describe God as a shepherd who brings security and peace to his people. Even the leaders of God’s people are called shepherds: they shall lead them out and bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep which have no shepherd (Numbers 27:17). Just as a shepherd kept watch over his sheep and protected them from danger, so Jesus stands watch over his people as the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
Jesus made three promises to his followers. He promised them everlasting life. If they accept him and follow him, they will have the life of God in them. Jesus also promised them a life that would know no end. Death would not be the end but the beginning; they would know the glory of indestructible life. Jesus promised a life that was secure. Jesus said that nothing would snatch them out of his hand, not even sorrow and death, since he is everlasting life itself. Our lives are safe in his hands. The words which Jesus spoke upset many of the Jewish leaders. How could he speak with the same authority which God spoke and claim to be equal with God? He must either be insane or divine. Unfortunately some thought he was mad even though he cured a man who was blind from birth. We are faced with the same choice. Either Jesus is who he claims to be – the Son of God and Savior of the world – or the world’s greatest deluder! We cannot be indifferent to his claim. For those who accept him as Lord and Savior he offers the peace and security of unending life and joy with God.
The religious leaders charged Jesus with blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God and he made himself equal with God. The Law of Moses laid down the death penalty for such a crime: “He who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him” (Lev. 24:16). As they were picking up stones to hurl at Jesus, he met their attack with three arguments. The many good works that he did, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry – demonstrated that they obviously came from God.
Jesus defended his right to call himself the Son of God with a quote from Psalm 82:6 (“I say, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you”). If scripture can speak like that of humans, why should Jesus not speak of himself like that? Jesus then made two claims: He was consecrated by the Father to a special task and he was sent into the world to carry out his Father’s mission. The scriptural understanding of consecration is to make holy for God – to be given over as a free-will offering and sacrifice for God. Jesus made himself a sin-offering for us, to ransom us from condemnation and slavery to sin. He spoke of his Father consecrating him for this mission of salvation (John 10:36). Jesus challenged his opponents to accept his works if they could not accept his words. One can argue with words, but deeds are beyond argument.
Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claims on what he says but on what he does. The word of God is life and power to those who believe. Jesus shows us the way to walk the path of truth and holiness. And he anoints us with his power to live the gospel with joy and to be his witnesses in the world.Read Day 9 Devotion by Cristy