Resurrection Life (John 10)
John 10:1–10 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 10:2 “But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 10:3 “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 10:4 “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 10:5 “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 10:6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. 10:7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 10:8 “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 10:9 “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
In this series on the Gospel readings from our Lectionary, we have seen the themes of Life and Resurrection in the face of doubt and disbelief in the cases of Mary Magdalene, the disciples, Thomas and the Emmaus road travelers. Now in John 10 we have a less explicit case of addressing Life and Resurrection, though v 17 says, “I lay down My life so that I may take it again.” The theme here is Abundant Life. It is established on the ground that Jesus is the Good Shepherd (rather than some impostor, v1). Three things are necessary for abundant life (v10):
1) Entering into the Good Shepherd’s Care (v1, 9) - Jesus stresses here that He is the way into the abundant life. He is “the door.” There is no other path which leads to abundant life, which includes Resurrection.
2) Listening to the Good Shepherd’s Voice (v3, 8) - The “sheep” of Jesus listen to His voice. There are multitudes of voices crying and bleating, but the sheep hear the one voice that leads them out to “find pasture” or to get all their fill of abundant life.
3) Following the Good Shepherd’s Leading (v3, 9) - It seems as though it is possible to enter into the fold, to hear the Shepherd’s voice, but then instead of following Him, a sheep could stay secure in the pen rather than be led to green pastures. The abundant life in the Lord requires enough faith to follow Jesus into a new, perhaps unfamiliar place, but a place of goodness. Ultimately it comes back down to whether Jesus is really a Good Shepherd. What do you believe about that?
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more