The day to day demands and struggles of life can often deprive us of a clear perspective of the big picture. What is really going on in the world? What is God up to? We learn from John 10 that there is a bigger story than our day-to-day lives taking place whether we notice or not. Jesus is at work gathering the sheep of His Father’s flock into the fold. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year the Good Shepherd is tenderly, patiently but effectively calling out to his sheep, delivering them out of darkness and into the light. He has laid down his life from the sheep and has pledged to guard and protect them. His sheep can rest in the peace of knowing they are secure with the fold of the Good Shepherd.
In the fast paced, highly connected world in which we live it seems all too common for people to feel overlooked. This sense of falling between the cracks is even more profound when we are struggling with difficulties that overwhelm us with seemingly no explanation for our suffering. We learn from the opening verses of the ninth chapter of John’s gospel that in Jesus we have a savior who sees our struggles. Furthermore, we learn in this passage that the hardships and struggles in our lives are for a purpose that displays the glory and character of God. In healing a blind beggar in Jerusalem, Jesus shows his power over our circumstances and teaches us to fix our gaze upon the higher purposes of our circumstances.
Scripture teaches that the fallen world in which we live is a dark place. We are so accustomed to this spiritual darkness that we can become blind to the light of truth. The darkness into which we are born deprives us of the ability to see and understand reality. The apostle John wrote his gospel to show us that God has invaded the darkness in the person of Jesus in order to bring us the light of life. Jesus is the life giving light of heaven. In this passage from the eighth chapter of John’s gospel we see Jesus taking advantage of ceremonies associated with the Jewish Feast of Booths to reveal to all who would listen that through him they could come out of the darkness of death and have life eternal in the light of God’s glory.
Our modern culture prides itself on knowledge and understanding. We believe we can overcome any obstacle, solve any problem by the right use of our mental faculties and the rigorous application of human knowledge. It’s all too easy to lapse into thinking that the same is true for spiritual matters as well. Many believe we can ascend God’s holy hill by way of right reasoning and right choices. An examination of the people in Jerusalem who attended the Feast of Booths in John 7 demonstrates that this is not the case. The natural man cannot comprehend spiritual reality and as such is completely dependent upon God’s grace to enable an understanding of the gospel.
Believers are engaged in the ongoing process of sanctification, progressively becoming more and more like Christ. As we study the nature of Christ in Scripture we see traits that should increasingly characterize our lives. In this brief interlude, John shows us four characteristics of a faithful servant. Seeing how these traits are modeled by Jesus during a difficult season of ministry should serve to help in continue to grow in grace and Christ likeness.
Have you ever thought about abandoning your faith and leaving Christianity? Life brings many challenges to the heart of the believer but none match the words of Christ. When we read what Jesus requires of us in Scripture our hearts should despair for we do not have the means to meet the demand. But there is good news, all that God requires Jesus has satisfied. The words of Jesus are hard, but the word of Jesus are life. In this sermon we see how the apostles come to realize that Jesus was the only source of life as He is the Holy One of God. Their hope, as does ours, rests completely in Him.
Since the fall all of mankind has been under the curse, blind to their condition and to the way of salvation that has been provided by God the Father through God the Son. Nicodemus was a man who came to Jesus in the darkness, blind to the mystery of salvation. In this passage, Jesus explains to him that God’s love for his people overcomes all obstacles to their salvation. Listen and consider the conquering love of God.
Determining what is true is essential. We are vulnerable to believing a thing to be true even when our basis for belief rests on a weak foundation. Nicodemus was a man who struggled with false belief. Though he spent a significant portion of his life studying the bible and the religious traditions of God’s people yet he did not believe the truth taught by Jesus. Listen to this sermon and consider whether you believe the truth of the gospel as taught by Jesus.