Bad, Mad or God?

Opening Prayer

Take some time to recognize Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Thank him for everything that this character of God encompasses.

Read John 10:11–21

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Reflect

If a non-Christian friend asked you why they should listen to Jesus, what would you say?

In this section Jesus explores what it means for him to be “the good shepherd” (11). Look at the contrast between the good shepherd and the hired hand (11–15). What strikes you most about
this contrast?

Jesus goes on to make some controversial statements about his relationships with his Father, and with sheep from other sheepfolds (referring to the Gentiles), and about his death (14–17). Why do you think some of the Jews who heard these statements were upset? Try to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective.

Verse 18 is particularly important because Jesus makes it clear here that he will give his life up voluntarily. This is the reason the Father and the Son are so close (17). As the story of his arrest and crucifixion unfolds it looks as though he had no control over it. Yet this verse tells a different story: one of voluntary surrender to death in obedience to his Father. No wonder the Jews were divided, with some of them thinking he was demon-possessed and raving mad (20). Until this point, Jesus had defended himself. Now, though, there are people who have become
his followers who defend him (21).

Apply

Do you know someone who needs the Good Shepherd today? How can you share the Savior’s gentle love with them?

Closing prayer

Jesus came to save the world. Think of a nation that is close to your heart and pray that people there will respond to Jesus today.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider