August 29, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for John 10-12
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Context: Jesus spoke to the people of His day in a way that they could easily understand. Individually, we may not know much about shepherding, but we have resources available at our fingertips which can help us understand the message Jesus was trying to get across to His listeners. Jesus came to lead people to Him, not force them to go the direction He wanted. Jesus is the shepherd. He knows each sheep in His flock. He looks out for them. He is willing to risk His life to save them from danger. Jesus message, and His divine claims, divided people’s opinions of Him, with some believing and some ready to kill Him. The death of Lazarus was another teaching opportunity. Jesus could have saved Lazarus as soon as He heard he was sick. Jesus could have immediately traveled to save him. Yet Jesus waited and arrived four days after Lazarus’ death. Four days! According to Jewish tradition, they continued to check the body for three days after death to ensure the person really was dead and not comatose. Jesus ensured everyone knew Lazarus was dead before he was raised again. The dinner hosted in Bethany did not occur immediately following the revival of Lazarus. It was at this dinner that Mary cleaned Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and her hair. Here, Judas is shown as a selfish thief, although he attempts to disguise his selfishness as concern for the poor. Jesus rebukes him, as their will always be the poor to care for but He will be on this earth for only a short time. The perfume used by Mary cost on year’s wages. Today, people will spend that on a new car or house for themselves, but how many would spend it to honor a friend? Interestingly, Judah would go and betray Jesus for less than half the amount the perfume was worth. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is not nearly as detailed as the other Gospels. The author, John, makes it clear that at the time, he and the other disciples did not understand the importance or significance of the event or Jesus’ predictions of His death. Despite all that Jesus had done, all the miracles He had performed, many still doubted. The Pharisees refused to believe in order to protect themselves and their positions.
World History: Are you a shepherd? No? Neither am I, but in order to understand chapter 10, it is important to understand being a shepherd. Several shepherds would often put their sheep together in a cave or pen at night. Yet, the shepherds could look at all the flocks together and know which sheep belonged to them. The sheep also knew their shepherd. They knew his voice and, come morning, would follow their shepherd when he called to them. Instead of being herded by dogs, the sheep were led by the voice of their shepherd. It was a loving relationship between the sheep and their shepherd.