My memory verse for this week:
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as The Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep." -- John 10:14-15
NTC Day 50
I think these two chapters have some of the most important words of Jesus...he explains who he is and why he is here on earth.
I have written before why I relate to Jesus' sheep analogies...I grew up on a sheep farm, and so relate with how much care sheep require. They really do recognize their shepherd's voice. I can remember my dad (and my grandparents too) calling the sheep. They would come running...mainly because they knew that voice meant food! I would have a tougher time getting them to come to the barn for me...they didn't recognize my voice. They would finally come, but only out of hunger.
Jesus speaks of being the good shepherd...and he not only cares for us...he laid down his life for us! The problem is...while we are all sheep, we don't all know Jesus and therefore don't recognize his voice when he calls. Those sheep are like wild mountain goats, wandering around fending for themselves. Jesus tries to get our attention, but if we don't make the effort to get to know him, we don't recognize his voice and run away...scared of a stranger and blind to the blessing that is right in front of us.
The miracle that Jesus performed most often, or at least the one that we read about the most, was healing the blind. In the Old Testament, it was said that the Messiah would come and heal the blind...so Jesus was fulfilling prophecies by doing so. But it was so much more than that. He was making the blind see, but he was also opening the eyes of the spiritually blind as well.
In John chapter 9, Jesus heals a man that had been blind from birth. Think about what a miracle that was for that man...he had never seen the beauty of the world around him, and after Jesus put the mud on his eyes and he washed it off...he could see everything for the first time! Talk about overwhelmed! He was excited!
But the Pharisees didn't WANT to believe...they didn't WANT to see the miracle of this man seeing the world for the first time. In fact, they were blinder than the man was...they just didn't know it!
As I have said before...sheep are pretty dumb animals and can get themselves in a lot of messes to be rescued from. Can you imagine a BLIND sheep? I am afraid a blind sheep on our farm would have had to spend most of it's time in the safety of the barn. A blind sheep would have wandered off, fallen in holes, and not been smart enough to get out. A blind sheep REALLY needs the care of it's shepherd. But what if that sheep didn't realize it was blind? It might be with the flock, following the sounds of the group, and as luck was with it, it might be able to survive.
How many of us are blind sheep? We follow the flock...we listen to the voices of those around us and let them lead us wherever they go. We can survive that way, but it might not be as fulfilling a life as if we were listening for the voice of our shepherd. Our shepherd knows us, knows our needs and wants to being us into the safety of the barn. Our shepherd has laid down his life to protect us. When we listen for his voice when he calls, we can follow his voice to safety. And the good thing is...he will heal our blindness and help us to see the beauty of this world....maybe for the first time.