The Gatekeepers

Welcome to the Renew blog, a Six Step Bible Study.

We are a united group of Ladies from the UK, who believe in the transforming power of the Word of God for our lives. We meet every Wednesday at Create church, (part of Rising Brook) in Huntington and would love to welcome you to our group, if you live local.

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We are on week 12 of our study in the book of John and we’re continuing with Chapter 10.

Read

John 10 (The Passion Translation)

The Parable of the Kind Shepherd

10 Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Listen to this eternal truth: The person who sneaks over the wall to enter into the sheep pen, rather than coming through the gate, reveals himself as a thief coming to steal. But the true Shepherd walks right up to the gate, and because the gatekeeper knows who he is, he opens the gate to let him in.[a] And the sheep recognize the voice of the true Shepherd, for he calls his own by name and leads them out, for they belong to him. And when he has brought out all his sheep, he walks ahead of them and they will follow him, for they are familiar with his voice. But they will run away from strangers and never follow them because they know it’s the voice of a stranger.” Jesus told the Pharisees this parable even though they didn’t understand a word of what he meant.[b]

So Jesus went over it again, “I speak to you eternal truth: I am the Gate for the flock.[c] All those who broke in before me are thieves who came to steal,[d] but the sheep never listened to them. I am the Gateway.[e] To enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction.[f] 10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter,[g] and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, [h] more than you expect[i]life in its fullness until you overflow! 11 I am the Good[j]Shepherd who lays down my life as a sacrifice for the sheep. 12–13 But the worker who serves only for wages is not a real shepherd. Because he has no heart for the sheep he will run away and abandon them when he sees the wolf coming. And then the wolf mauls the sheep, drags them off, and scatters them.

14 “I alone am the Good Shepherd, and I know those whose hearts are mine, for they recognize me and know me, 15 just as my Father knows my heart and I know my Father’s heart. I am ready to give my life for the sheep.

16 “And I have other sheep that I will gather which are not of this Jewish flock. And I, their shepherd, must lead them too, and they will follow me and listen to my voice. And I will join them all into one flock with one shepherd.[k]

17 “The Father has an intense love for me because I freely give my own life—to raise it up again. 18 I surrender my own life, and no one has the power to take my life from me. I have the authority to lay it down and the power to take it back again. This is the destiny my Father has set before me.”

19 This teaching set off another heated controversy among the Jewish leaders. 20 Many of them said, “This man is a demon-possessed lunatic! Why would anyone listen to a word he says?” 21 But then there were others who weren’t so sure: “His teaching is full of insight. These are not the ravings of a madman! How could a demonized man give sight to one born blind?”

Jesus at the Feast of Renewal

22–23 The time came to observe the winter Feast of Renewal in Jerusalem.[l] Jesus walked into the temple area under Solomon’s covered walkway 24 when the Jewish leaders encircled him and said, “How much longer will you keep us in suspense? Tell us the truth and clarify this for us once and for all. Are you really the Messiah, the Anointed One?”

25 Jesus answered them, “I have told you the truth already and you did not believe me. The proof of who I am is revealed by all the miracles that I do in the name of my Father. 26 Yet, you stubbornly refuse to follow me, because you are not my sheep. As I’ve told you before: 27 My own sheep will hear my voice and I know each one, and they will follow me. 28 I give to them the gift of eternal life and they will never be lost and no one has the power to snatch them out of my hands. 29 My Father, who has given them to me as his gift, is the mightiest of all, and no one has the power to snatch them from my Father’s care. 30 The Father and I are one.”

31 When they heard this, the Jewish leaders were so enraged that they picked up rocks to stone him to death. 32 But Jesus said, “My Father has empowered me to work many miracles and acts of mercy among you. So which one of them do you want to stone me for?”

33 The Jewish leaders responded, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did—it’s because of your blasphemy! You’re just a son of Adam, but you’ve claimed to be God!”

34 Jesus answered, “Isn’t it written in your Scriptures that God said, ‘You are gods?’[m] The Scriptures cannot be denied or found to be in error. 35 So if those who have the message of the Scriptures are said to be ‘gods,’ then why would you accuse me of blasphemy? 36 For I have been uniquely chosen by God and he is the one who sent me to you. How then could it be blasphemy for me to say, ‘I am the Son of God!’ 37 If I’m not doing the beautiful works that my Father sent me to do, then don’t believe me. 38 But if you see me doing the beautiful works of God upon the earth, then you should at least believe the evidence of the miracles, even if you don’t believe my words! Then you would come to experience me and be convinced that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”

39 Once again they attempted to seize him, but he escaped miraculously[n] from their clutches. 40 Then Jesus went back to the place where John had baptized him at the crossing of the Jordan. 41 Many came out to where he was and said about him, “Even though John didn’t perform any miracles, everything he predicted about this man is true!” 42 And many people became followers of Jesus at the Jordan and believed in him.

Study

In this parable the gatekeeper would represent John the Baptizer who recognized Jesus as the Shepherd. John opened the gate for him to be introduced to Israel at Jesus’ baptism. (John 10:3 ) Now because we have invited Jesus to dwell within us, we are gatekeepers too. We have the opportunity to open up the gate of Wisdom to speak life into those that Jesus is calling. We become attuned to His voice and hear the words He wants to speak into people’s lives, it’s our job to be obedient to Him, that’s what we signed up for when we said yes. 

Can you recall a time that you heard the voice of Jesus either in your head, in your heart, through someone else, or audibly?

Last night I watched a programme about god, not God as I know Him but god how the world and different religions see him. Morgan Freeman goes around visiting different places to try and get an understanding of different faiths to see what the world believes about god in their eyes. It was quite liberating for me to watch, it affirmed to me that as a Christian I’ve made the right choice and this parable indicates why. Take a look at what the footnotes say in The Passion Translation regarding John 10:6;

They didn’t understand this allegory of the Old Testament law as the sheepfold that became the religion of Judaism, was like a pen that confined the people. Christ is the gate that not only allowed everyone in, but he let them out in the New Testament to enjoy all the riches of the pasture. The Holy Spirit is the gatekeeper and the false prophets and Pharisees are the thieves and robbers. Remember that this chapter follows the healing of the blind man who was cast out of the “sheep pen” but accepted in Christ. 

All these other religions that Morgan was looking into had rules and regulations, laws, procedures or some way of going about things to earn their way to freedom. If the people did as they were told and lived in a certain way, they could eventually have a life free from evil and pain and receive peace to just be. 

As Christians Jesus offers us that life now, eternity is ours, the eternal life offered in the famous scripture John 3:16 is available to us NOW! By living in a relationship with Jesus and accepting the Holy Spirit to dwell within us we are given wisdom, here and now, we are no longer slaves to legalism, the Holy Spirit gives us the fruit that we need to live a life free from evil, we no longer have to live in a way cut off to the world unlike these religions I was learning about on this programme.

Again we see here from the footnotes in The Passion Translation that we are saved through Jesus, He brings us into this direct relationship – John 10:7 As translated from the Aramaic. There is a word play with “I” (ena) and “flock” (ana). As the gateway, he brings us to the Father and his kingdom realm. As the shepherd, he cares for us and shows us his loving heart.

But as with any relationship this can not be one sided. A relationship needs to be worked at and the more we work at it the more we come to know Jesus and His nature, the more we hear His voice, and more is revealed as to how we can live more freely. As we embark on this journey of freedom with Him, we begin to see how to live, and more importantly how to become like Him, a Gatekeeper. We have the same power within us that raised Jesus from the dead, and that power is to be used for His kingdom. And this is what we call naturally supernatural. 

Everyday God is calling people to His kingdom, freeing people from legalistic religion and allowing them to enter His Kingdom and we are part of that amazing plan. In order to see and do what we are called to, we must push deeper into the relationship. It’s no use looking at others and desiring their relationship, we must create on of our own, and when we do, life becomes a beautiful journey.

God wants us to play our part in the rescue mission, we see in John 10:8 that Jesus is speaking about the people that broke in before him, they still exist! The footnotes explain; In the Old Testament it refers to the kings of Israel and Judah as “shepherds.” These kings along with false prophets are shepherds who don’t always have God’s heart for the sheep. After the healing of the blind man, the Pharisees refused to acknowledge Jesus’ rightful place as shepherd of his flock, so the thieves coming to steal would also refer to them.

How can you identify thieves coming to steal in todays age?

Although we still have a choice when we become Christian to either press in to become acute to the voice of Jesus or not. Those that do will live the eternal life offered, those that don’t are still saved and still very much Christian but will not live the life God ordained for us to have when Jesus died for us. If we look at John 10:9 we can see how that is explained. 

A sheep pen was an enclosure with walls and no roof that would often have the sheep of an entire village kept within. After the sheep were brought in for the night, it was common for the shepherd to sleep at the entrance, so he could protect his sheep. Only the shepherds of the sheep would be recognized by that gatekeeper. Jesus is the one who will remain with his flock and keep his sheep living in peace and safety. His teaching (voice) will guard us from the unreliable teachers who want to steal our hearts and bind us to themselves. They steal and rob the affection that belongs only to Jesus, our kind shepherd.

Where would you like God to use you? Dream big here, what would you like to see in the world changed, place it before the Lord and ask Him what you can do with Him to make that happen?

This week’s Study Scripture.

Galatians 3:23 (TPT)

So until the revelation of faith for salvation was released, the law was a jailer, holding us as prisoners under lock and key until the “faith,” which was destined to be revealed, would set us free.

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