Introduction: We were much encouraged in last week’s notes on Daniel to discover how mighty our Savior-God is – able to bend the proud necks of evil men like the king of Babylon! What a mighty, protecting, Shepherd-King we have! But how tender this same Shepherd is towards us! For this week’s notes, therefore, we look to John 10 for further understanding of our Savior Jesus Christ’s shepherding protection of His own flock.

Monday: read John 10:1-6. It must have been a real joy for Jesus, after the false faith of the crowds in Jerusalem in John 2:23-25, and after the outright persecution He suffered when He returned there in John 5:16, to be able to pause on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to speak for a few moments to the true disciples who really loved Him, and like faithful sheep, would only follow His voice. The work of the Spirit of God is a real, saving work. Those effectually called to follow Christ will be irresistibly drawn to His voice, as John 10:1-6 makes clear. On the other hand, how tragic that there are many in Jesus’ day, (and ours), who will gladly listen to anyone else who comes in his own name, (John 5:43), rather than listen to the sweet, saving voice of the Lord Jesus. How shocking!

Meditate and Pray: “Lord, please keep us attuned to the melody of your voice, and the accents of your grace in our lives. Do not let our ears drag us away in order to be tickled by false teaching. Keep your church secure in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.” Sing hymn # 347:

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word:
From Heav’n He came and sought her
To be His holy bride,
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe and traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, How long?
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!

’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest!

Tuesday: read John 10:7-10. For our loving Shepherd Jesus, guarding the sheep from night-time attack is a matter of life and death. That is why, like Middle-Eastern shepherds of old, our Lord makes Himself the “gate” or “door” of the sheep in John 10:7 & 9. Such a shepherd would literally lie down at the entrance into the fold to protect the flock with his own body. This is what Jesus does for us. Not only does His body and blood given on the Cross open up the way into Heaven (Hebrews 10:19-20), it also guards our way from the wolves who would seek to snatch us off the heavenly path! Jesus’ own body does the guarding! And since we are His body, we are safe. No one can snatch us our of His hand, (John 10:29)!

Meditate and Pray: Sing about our absolute security in the hand of our shepherding Savior in hymn # 463:

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo,
Or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in Heav’n.

Wednesday: read John 10:10-16. What wonderful, life-giving words Jesus utters about His shepherding care. Whereas the thief and the wolf come to kill and destroy the flock, and the false shepherd runs away in fear for himself, with no concern for the flock, Jesus shows His shepherding love by saying repeatedly that He will, “lay down His life for the flock”.

Why, we might say, is the Divine Shepherd-King and Son of God, willing to pay such a high price as to lay down His life for His flock? There is nothing intrinsically worthy in us! In fact, because we are sheep, we go astray continually from our God (Isaiah 53:6)! But there is something profoundly eternal in the love which our Shepherd has for His sheep. In fact, in order to secure all His sheep, (from different ‘Gentile’ as well as Jewish folds, John 10:16), Christ set His love upon them from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20).

So, whenever we have a haunting loneliness in this life, believing that no one really understands our past or present plights, we ought to remember that Jesus has been there all along, and knows every step of our journey, just as a good shepherd walks the whole length of the journey until the sheep are safe in the fold!

Meditate and Pray: Sing about Christ’s shepherding leadership with the words of hymn # 599:

Savior, like a shepherd lead us,
Much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us,
For our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us,
Be the guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us,
Seek us when we go astray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Hear, O hear us when we pray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Hear, O hear us when we pray.

Thou hast promised to receive us,
Poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us,
Grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
We will early turn to Thee.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
We will early turn to Thee.

Early let us seek Thy favor,
Early let us do Thy will;
Blessèd Lord and only Savior,
With Thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus!
Thou hast loved us, love us still.

Thurs/Fri: read John 10:17-42. Now we get to the real rub of the Jewish leaders’ hatred of Jesus. Whereas God the Father took great pleasure in His Son’s willingness to take on human flesh and lay down His life His sheep (John 10:17), the leaders who opposed Him rejected any suggestion that the Godhead was present fully in the person of Jesus Christ, dismissing his frequent claims to be sent by God as blasphemous words (John 10:33).

Their absolute hard-hearted rejection of all Jesus stood for meant that there was nothing more our Lord could do with them but to escape their clutches in John 10:39. He returned to the quietness of the of the river Jordan where John had baptized Him, along with many others. Do you see the comfort of this relocation to the Jordan? Surely Christ’s heart ached after hearing the false charges of blasphemy levelled against Him. How comforting to go back to the place where He had heard His Father’s voice from Heaven saying, “This is My Beloved Son – in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

Meditate and Pray: Sing about relying on the pleasure of the Lord alone as your source of encouragement in whatever you are called to do – especially when the world abandons or even condemns you:

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee.

A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heaven espy.

To scorn the senses’ sway,
While still to Thee I tend:
In all I do be Thou the way,
In all be Thou the end.

All may of Thee partake;
Nothing so small can be
But draws, when acted for Thy sake,Greatness and worth from Thee.

If done to obey Thy laws,
E’en servile labors shine;
Hallowed is toil, if this the cause,
The meanest work divine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own, Cannot for less be sold.