[I am sick as a dog today. stopped up, cold, runny nose, some stomach pains and nausea earlier. I‚Äôve just been still in the chair surfing the internet for a while. It‚Äôs hard to think.]
v.8 Jesus isn‚Äôt talking about the prophets, but about false prophets and false teachers. The wild thing is, the converse of His statement is ‚Äúif you listened to them, you are not my sheep‚Äù
Jesus contrasts Himself to the previous anti-shepherds by saying that He came for the sheep to have life abundantly. It seems like it would be easy to see from the previous chapter that the Pharisees are not on the side of having abundant life, but on the side of having abundant requirements, regulations, and judgments. I talked to a guy recently that is struggling to do the things ‚ÄúJesus expects‚Äù and to do the things his pastor tells him to do. He is weighed down with burdens like the Pharisees would assign. ‚ÄòDo this activity this way. Don‚Äôt do this. This is wrong. This is good.‚Äô
Jesus was alive, and lived a lot talking about what the Kingdom of God was and what the Father is like. If I teach my son how to ride a bike by telling him all of the places he shouldn‚Äôt ride his bike and all of the ways he should not sit on his bike and all of the improper ways of holding the handle bars, he will never learn how to ride a bike. He will certainly be an expert on how to not ride a bike incorrectly! But he won‚Äôt be able to ride it 4 feet! When I taught my oldest son how to ride a bike, I assured him of this: ‚ÄúYou will fall and it will hurt, but you can‚Äôt give up. I will take care of you and your booboos will get better, and you will become a better bike rider.‚Äù It was all true, and now he rides like the wind (and sometimes I wish I could get a little fear back into him!)
That‚Äôs how I think of Jesus giving us abundant life. He doesn‚Äôt train the sheep in how to avoid the wolf, or carry on telling the sheep how evil and hungry the wolf is. He just takes care of them and has them follow Him. How much of life is taken care of in that one little lesson?!
Follow the voice of the shepherd.
Here is to living life free in the Son, and trusting that the sheep of Christ will hear is voice and not be distracted by the sound of the [zealboy phrase edited out]