Wednesday, 29 November 2017
“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.” John 10.16
Jesus speaks as the good shepherd, the one who looks after His sheep to the point of giving His very life for them. Jesus spoke firstly to the Jews. He came to rescue God’s chosen people and lift them out of their wayward lives to restore them into right relationship with the Father.
He then goes on to mention other sheep. These are the Gentiles, indeed any one who receives Jesus as Saviour and gives himself or herself into His lordship.
Jesus talks of one flock. He sees a time when Jew and Gentile will come together in unity under the one shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a promise to cherish; it is a time to anticipate and to give ourselves to. O, Hallelujah!
Jesus talks of one flock and means, I feel quite sure, that all people will come together under Him. This is a mighty, massive promise. I look around that portion of the flock that I am familiar with – this is the Body of Christ as represented through the Western Church (for this is my experience!). What I see, truly, is a proliferation of thoughts, ideas, and practices. Jesus intended to build one church. Human leadership has splintered and fragmented the church into many factions each one, no doubt, believing that they are the church of Jesus Christ.
There is a way to go before even the Christians get themselves into the fullness of complete unity. And yet, Jesus can promise unity between Christians and Jews, such that they come together as one flock with one shepherd. Only Jesus can do this.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Most Holy God,
I receive these words today as a mighty revelation and the greatest promise: there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
I know, most assuredly I know, that nothing is impossible with You. I rejoice in You, Lord. I invite You to use me, if You will, in the move towards one flock and one shepherd.
Monday, 27 November 2017
By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. Heb. 11.30
Moses had led the Israelites victoriously through the Red Sea and across the desert. Then his successor, Joshua, led them into the Promised Land. One of the obstacles they faced was the city of Jericho. God told Joshua to march around the city with all the armed men once a day for six days. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing trumpets. When they sounded a long blast, all the people were to give a loud shout. Then the city wall would collapse and the city would be taken. Joshua was obedient to God’s command. The prophesied action came to pass in reality.
The writer here declares this to be an act of faith. Joshua was the leader so, presumably, he had the faith to follow through in what God had asked of him. But he could not achieve success on his own. He needed the army, the priests and, indeed, all the people. The narrative in the Book of Joshua (chapter 6) tells us that Joshua gave the instructions, and everyone complied.
I see here a proliferation of faith. This is more than the faith of one man. At Jericho a whole people group exercised their faith acting as they believed their Lord wanted them to. Were the instructions they were given sound and logical? There doesn’t seem to be much logic in an invading army marching around its target playing trumpets. The key to this victory is not the logic of the plan, but the obedience of the people, in faith.
May I never doubt or question what You might ask of me, but may I rather be obedient to You in the fullness of faith. Amen.
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