35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him.
We pick up this account of Jesus’ healing of the blind man toward the end, where the religious leaders are challenging the miracle and attacking the healed man to discredit him. But in the midst of their rejection, the man is met by Jesus who invites him to place his faith in Christ. It is amazing that this man who had been healed by Jesus didn’t even know who He was. Jesus gently introduced himself and the man responded in faith and worship.
- Have you experienced rejection by those you thought were men or women of God?
- What do you hear the gentle voice of Jesus saying to you in the midst of this experience?
- Is there someone in your life who needs to hear the gentle invitation of Jesus over the voices of rejection they have heard in the past?
Gracious God, it is surprises us how your people are not always the kindest and often lead others away by their words. We confess the times when we have said things out of fear and judgment that don’t reflect your heart. Heal us and help us to see your heart for others and empower us to create space for others to experience your spacious mercy and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
39 Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see may see and those who do see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
Jesus’ miracles were signs of a greater truth about His character, work, and ministry. His healing the blind man demonstrated his work on earth, “to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear,” as The Message says. His work turns things on their head and invites all to humbly acknowledge their ongoing need to see as Jesus does.
- Where have you experienced ongoing transformation to see things in new ways?
- Are there areas where you believe, “We see,” and how do Jesus’ words sit with you?
- Where would you like meet you in this passage today?
Gracious God, thank you for your commitment to our ongoing healing and restoration so that we can grow from “seeing in a glass darkly” to seeing you face to face. Give us the humility to admit our propensity for blindness so that we might be open to seeing your revelation to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
This teaching of Jesus comes on the heels of his healing of the blind man and challenge to the Pharisees that they are blind to the ways of God. He continues by calling his own those who hear his voice and follow him, rather than the voices of the religious leaders who are not attuned to the Shepherd’s voice, and are thus, “the blind leading the blind.”
- What does it look like for you to listen to the voice of the Gatekeeper?
- Are there other voices that distract you from Jesus? What is compelling about their voice?
- How does Jesus protect you in your going out and your coming in?
Gracious God, in our leading and in our following, help us to find our common voice in the voice of the gatekeeper. Help us to not speak in ways that contradict your words to your children, and as your flock help us to distinguish your voice from the voices of others that we might flourish and draw others to your fold. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
7 So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Sometimes we hear that sheep are stupid and it’s easy for us to consider ourselves as dumb as sheep. But something about them is that they know not to listen to those that lie and try to lead them astray. Because they spend time with the Shepherd and know his voice, they stick close to the one who gives them life.
- Who is God inviting you not to listen to, regardless of how compelling their voice might be?
- What does it look like to go in and out under the watchful eye of the God who loves you?
- What does it look like for you to have life abundantly? What can you let go of to make more room for the abundant life Jesus invites us to?
Gracious God, thank you for giving us discernment to recognize when the voices we hear are not of you. You are the One who came for us, not for Yourself, to draw us to you and give us the best life possible. Help us to keep our eyes on you, whether we are coming or going, secure in your protection. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.
Sometimes we are surprised because someone we thought was a good shepherd left us vulnerable and unprotected. It can be devastating for a person and for a congregation when there is failure or neglect among leadership. But Jesus knows that even religious leaders are broken and while they can fail, He, the Good Shepherd, will love us even to his death. We are known and loved by God beyond any human could.
- What have you learned about trusting broken people?
- How have your experiences of disappointment in leaders or people who influenced you impact your perspectives and attitudes.
- What do you need to entrust to the Good Shepherd today?
Gracious God, thank you that we are safe with you. We pray for the leaders that you have entrusted your flock to and pray that they will hold closely to you so that they might reflect you and point us to you. And we pray for our own sphere of influence, that you would empower us to use the power that we have, not for our own benefit but the benefit of others and Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.