Good Shepherd/Bad Shepherd
Do you like to be told what to do, led to where you are supposed to go, pointed to the right door, and pushed down the corridor? Or do you like to be invited, called to, enticed and drawn? Having raised three children, there were and still are times when I need to tell them what to do. But almost every time, there's a battle. But if I invite them and give them choices, I give them the opportunity to make the right decision and they take ownership.
In our passage this week, John 10:1-21, Jesus portrays himself as the good shepherd. He contrasts himself with the Pharisees who care nothing for the people. He wants to help us identify who and what it is we are following. We're all following something or somebody. I believe verse 10 is the central verse of this passage, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
Jesus is boldly saying that to follow me is to find life, and any other direction will lead to destruction. This is not a popular belief in our relativistic culture. It was not popular then either. It reminds me of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, "For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life."