Day 28 (March 24), John 10:7-20
Context: Jesus further explains the differences between ‘the good shepherd’ and the hired hand, especially when danger (a wolf) is approaching. Jesus also points out the very distinct differences in motivation: the hired hand ‘cares nothing about the sheep,’ the good shepherd ‘lays his life down’ for the sheep. Jesus also states he has other sheep that are not in this fold, but he must bring them in to hear his voice. Lastly, he teaches that he lays his life down on his own volition.
Observations: Who do you think Jesus is referring to when he uses the term ‘the hired hand’? Is it possible he is referring to the Gentiles who will hear Jesus’ voice and be brought ‘into the fold’ with believing Israel? Or some other people? Why is it significant Jesus lays down his life ‘on his own initiative'? What reasons did people give at the end of Chapter 10 for believing in Jesus, or for dismissing him? How does that relate to today?
Application: Read Psalm 23 today, if possible. Note the similarities and do two things. First, demonstrate and express your trust in the Shepherd in a tangible way (casting your anxiety, remembering his presence, believing he will overcome your enemies, etc.). Second, take several moments throughout the day today (it will be difficult) to actually sense the presence of Jesus in the middle of your circumstances (good, bad or in-between). The shepherd comes alongside his sheep and does NOT abandon them!!
Prayer: Thank God for his provision in your life. Ask that he provide for something very specific. Intercede on Evergreen’s behalf for a place of our own for 24/7 ministry. Note: as I drove by the old DMV building this week I was reminded of John 1 where the Word became man and ‘dwelt among us’ or, as The Message paraphrases it, ‘moved into the neighborhood.’ That moved me to pray we as a Body could move into the neighborhood surrounding the buiding.