7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am(A) the gate(B) for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me(C) were thieves and robbers,(D) but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,(E) and have it to the full.
I love it when there’s something that God’s wanting to get my attention about. I know it because I see the same theme/word pop up in various places. That’s what’s going on with the word pasture.
Happened again yesterday as I was reading Psalm 37 (my Psalm of the year–begin reading it the day I turn that birthday age and go back to it sporadically over the course of the year. With so many Psalms I figure I won’t outlast this annual adventure).
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” (Ps. 37:4)
What a picture of the rest and freedom that comes with being one of God’s sheep! From the John passage, I see that, by God’s grace, I didn’t listen to other “thieves” and “robbers” pretending to be worthy of be following. I waited to put my trust in the Good Shepherd. Because of that, I’ve been saved and have the freedom to come and go (a picture of not fearing and huddling in a corner somewhere, but rather confidently grazing because I know my Good Shepherd is nearby).
A new insight I received this time through was the context of “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” That’s John 10:10–pretty famous. However, how did I never realize it’s only one part of the verse? The truth of that phrase I’ve often quoted is even more powerful of a reality when we see the contrast:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
(semicolon which could also be a big “hold on for this–BUT“)
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Oh, how God is the Good, Good Shepherd!
A good book, by the way, written from a real-life shepherd that gave me as a city girl better understanding into the whole sheep/shepherding thing is A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.