John 10:1-21 (ESV)
1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 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. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 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.” 19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
We called them the “Meatball Bandit.” Our home was broken into three times in the matter of three months. The first time they were able to get quite a few electronics and our trash bin (wheelie for my Australian readers). We replaced the window they broke and replaced our electronics and the second month they took those replacements. We replaced the window and did not replace the electronics so the third month they took a bag of meatballs from our freezer and returned our trash bin they had taken from the first break-in. We fixed the door and window they broke and they did not come back. It caused some stress and fear so we needed to bring some levity to the situations and they became the “Meatball Bandit.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” There are threats to all of us. Our own sin and the sin of others work to bring destruction. They begin to erode our ability to trust that God is good and true. They become more powerful as we focus on them and worry about what they can do to us. We begin to focus on them and take our eyes of the Good Shepherd. The voice of the thief can become louder and louder in our ears. We give it power and begin to think it is all powerful.
But listen, do you hear the call of the Good Shepherd. We know His voice. Listen closely. A stranger might be trying to call you but listen. You know the Shepherds voice. He comes to give life abundantly. Enter through Him and find life.
It can be hard to hear His voice sometimes when the thief seems every present. As we pulled up to our house even 4 or 5 months after the last visit from the “Meatball Bandit” we would all be looking at the back door to see if there had been any disturbance. It really didn’t stop until we moved from that house. Our old life of fear without the Good Shepherd hangs around us and seems to easily distract us from the Truth of His presence. We believe that either there is no way we could be a good enough sheep to have Him as a shepherd or we, the sheep, need to build a better sheep gate to protect us. We think that we have done too much to be forgiven or that we need to do more good things to be accepted. And our joy is stolen. But the Good Shepherd came to give us life abundant. We hear His voice and know that we are His.
Jesus, thank you for being our protector and comfort by laying down your life for us. Thank you Father for giving us to Jesus and charging Him with our life. Spirit, teach us to hear our Good Shepherd’s voice above all the other voices that work for our destruction. AMEN
Read Romans 8, Galatians 3:23- 4:7, Ephesians 2, Colossians 3:1-17.