John 10:14-16 ESV
“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 will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
During Jesus’ life on the earth, God’s people were still under the Old Covenant, but Jesus was teaching New Covenant, mostly, I believe. God’s people then were the Jews. But not every Jew was a follower of God. Not every Jew believed in the Lord and obeyed his commandments.
So, when Jesus said that he was the good shepherd and that he knows his sheep and they know him, he was speaking of those who had accepted him as their Messiah and Lord, that he was the Christ. They were those who listened to him and who followed (obeyed) him (Jn 10:27-30).
There is a special relationship, a special intimacy between our Lord and us who are his sheep. He lives within us in the person of the Holy Spirit, and so he speaks to us in our spirits night and day just like if he were with us in person.
He is there with us all the time speaking words of instruction, counsel, correction, and encouragement. We can talk with him and him with us 24/7. He’s our husband and we are his bride, and he loves us dearly.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ surpasses all human relationships. There is not anything else like it on this earth, because it is not of this world. But it is like having your best friend with you at your side all the time.
You don’t have to wait for some formal time to have a conversation with him, either. He is there always. You don’t have to wait until you are reading Scripture, either, for him to speak to you, because he is the Word, and the Word is living within you. You have the mind of Christ.
The sheep that were yet to join the fold were the Gentiles. In Jesus’ death he destroyed that barrier between Jew and Gentile and he made us both one in Christ by faith in Jesus Christ, just like he said he would. And there are still Jews and Gentiles to be brought into the fold before our Lord returns, which is why we share the gospel of our salvation near and far.
John 10:17-18 ESV
“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, 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 have received from my Father.”
Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is God. He had full authority to lay his life down for us and to take it up again. No one made him do this. The Scribes and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day had no power over him. They could only do what God allowed and what was according to God’s plan and purpose.
It was God’s will that Jesus should suffer and die for us on that cross so that we could now die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us on that cross (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21).
Also, Jesus is completely sovereign over our lives, so nothing is going to happen to us, either, unless God allows it. Satan has no power over us, though he can certainly injure us physically or emotionally. But he can’t touch us unless God grants permission for him to touch us.
But it is God’s will that, as followers of Jesus, we would suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus, for the sake of the gospel of our salvation, and for the sake of righteousness. Suffering is part of the life of a follower of Jesus. By it we grow to maturity in Christ.
John 10:19-21 ESV
“There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, ‘He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?’ Others said, ‘These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’”
Not everyone believed Jesus. Many didn’t. Many did not put their faith and trust in him, but they opposed him, instead, some of them vehemently. They harassed him at every turn, looking for ways to accuse him. And eventually they carried out their plan to have him put to death.
They falsely accused him of being crazy and of being of the devil, too. And he said that as he was treated so we would be treated. So, it should not surprise us if we get called the same, and even by leaders within the gatherings of the church, too. For, Jesus’ persecutors and murderers were rulers in the temple of God.
We, as well, may have some supporters and encouragers, and we will have those who oppose us strongly and who attack us and who accuse us falsely of what we are not doing or saying, too. But God allows it in our lives or it could not happen. So, we need to keep trusting in the Lord.
We can’t let our opponents undo us or cause us to doubt God and his word or our relationships with Jesus Christ, unless, of course, we truly are not in Christ by genuine faith in him. So, we need to be certain of what the Word teaches on that subject and then follow Christ by obeying his word.
And we must continue to do the work God has called us to do no matter how much opposition we face. We especially need to continue to share the whole counsel of God, the whole gospel of our salvation, not the half-truth diluted gospel which permits sin to continue, and which requires no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ as Lord.
Yes, we will be persecuted, but the Lord may use our persecution for his glory to reach even more people for faith in Jesus Christ. So, trust Him!
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.