January 4, 2022
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Basic Observations from John 6-10
Who is Jesus? He is the bread of life, He came from above, He abides in us and we in Him, He knows the hearts of men (He knew Judas would betray Him), He is the light of the world, He sets us free, He has existed from eternity past (before Abraham was, I am), He is light, He makes the blind see, He walks on water, He commands the disciples to not fear, He is the good shepherd who lays His life down for His flock, He is the Son of God, He is not of this world, He knows His sheep.
What was His ministry on earth about? He fed the 5,000 men (most likely 20,000 people total), He was with the disciples, He went away to be alone, He walked on water, He is from the Father, He did not condemn the adulterous woman although the religious leaders wanted Him to do so, He came to set people free, He healed the blind man, He is the light that helps people see, He is the shepherd of one flock and He knows His sheep.
What does this mean to me in the present day?
There is something comforting about being deeply known and truly loved by God. In my earthly relationships, most people who know my personal warts and wrinkles—my weaknesses, flaws, sins, the moments I am stubborn and don’t believe—do not truly love me. In my earthly life, I am used to love that is transactional. A love that is given when I am behaving properly, when I am earning love, or when I am setting the right example. Unmerited love makes the gospel radical—inside out and upside down. It’s a concept which I have not even begun to scratch the surface. Even this side of heaven, to be completely known by an omniscient God, to be fully seen and exposed as I am, and still deeply loved is a heavenly idea I do not think I will ever fully comprehend. But because I can’t fully understand it, doesn’t make this upside down and inside out love any less true.
If Jesus is who He says He is in John 6-10, and I believe He is who He says He is, than He is my good shepherd who knows me and brings me in—even when I wander away—He brings me back, because He loves me so much He desires for me to remain close to Him and the flock. He doesn’t love me and bring me back based on what I do or don’t do, He loves me simply because I am His and because of who He is.
The Good Shepherd doesn’t just bring me in alone, He brings me into one flock (10:16). This reminds me of more community language. Faith is not something to live out alone—even though I have been in a lonely place, I am a member of one flock. My heavenly status should move me toward others—no matter how scary moving toward others may be. If He is the Good Shepherd, He will guide me and protect me.
These are not new truths to me, but difficult truths to synthesize as I walk in the now and the not yet. The now—the fact that I know who Jesus is and the Spirit gives me union with Him in the heavenly places—and the not yet—living out a heavenly status in a world that is fallen while also battling my own fallen heart.
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Today, I want to embrace this truth. I am free indeed because Jesus has set me free. I am deeply known by the Good Shepherd, and dearly loved. I am no longer bound to my former understanding of transactional love—I am free to rest in the radical, unmerited love of the Good Shepherd. This is a layer of faith I need to grow up into in the now and the not yet. I am free indeed because of Jesus. That is a deeply comforting truth.
Lord, You are the Good Shepherd and You deeply know the hearts of Your sheep. You set people free from the earthly patterns that keep them in hiding and You bring them into one flock. Give me the confidence to rest in Your radical love. Move me toward others and teach me to love radically as You love radically. Give me the grace be content with where I am today and give me opportunities to pursue others as I work out what I believe is true in the now and the not yet.