Lent Devotional Day 23

Day 23
Thursday, March 16th

John 10:1-21

1 “I assure you that whoever doesn’t enter into the sheep pen through the gate but climbs over the wall is a thief and an outlaw. 2 The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The guard at the gate opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 Whenever he has gathered all of his sheep, he goes before them and they follow him, because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice.” 6 Those who heard Jesus use this analogy didn’t understand what he was saying.

7 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.”

19 There was another division among the Jews because of Jesus’ words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon and has lost his mind. Why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These aren’t the words of someone who has a demon. Can a demon heal the eyes of people who are blind?”

In this scripture, Jesus is describing His people as sheep and Him as the Good Shepherd. As long as we work at following His voice of instructions through all of our decisions, he watches over us and protects us. Jesus says “My true sheep will listen to me and not to them. Those who come to me will be saved.” He calls us and leads us to where we need to be. 
Jesus gathers us together to be with one another for support and protection and tells us to be careful, avoiding “bad shepherds” who would hurt us. Bad shepherds could mean toxic thoughts, temptations, or even the wrong people in our lives.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and is willing to lay down His life for us voluntarily for our salvation and to nurture us. Jesus can only nurture us with his powers if we come to him with an open heart. He is the God who cares, loves, and leads us to the safety of His arms. Jesus provides for us 24/7, even when we can’t see him or it feels like He isn’t with us. It is important to let Him guide us even when it seems life isn’t going how we want it to.

Lord, you are a Good Shepherd. You carry us through bad days and good days. Let us acknowledge your presence and lean on you as our shepherd and our guide. Amen. 

Written by Ryan Cook and Justin Backowski
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