The Ninety-Nine

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine”

Cory Asbury

9

For the past couple of years, I have challenged myself with reading the Bible from cover-to-cover. However, I was not a dedicated follower of Jesus during most of this challenge, so it has proven to be a difficult task. Nonetheless, I have not given up. At this point, I am almost finished reading Jeremiah.

Recently, a pastor at Southland Christian Church challenged each of us to pick a bible, pick a time, and pick a place. He challenged us to begin reading one chapter each day from John. As I had not yet reached the New Testament, I was eager to begin this – I wanted to read all about Jesus. As my pastor said, if you want to hear what God is trying to tell you, read in the Word. He said, “What Jesus has said is what Jesus is still saying today.”

 Thus, creating the question: What is Jesus saying?

 Today is the tenth day of this challenge, meaning that I read John 10 this morning. In this chapter of John, there aren’t any miracles performed, nothing intense truly happens, but I found it to be a very powerful read. John 10 is filled with Jesus simply talking.

Jesus spends His time discussing shepherds and sheep. John 10:14 reads, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…”.

Jesus is the shepherd.

We are the sheep.

John 10: 4-5 says, “When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” When we read in the Word, when we talk to God, when we simply spend time in His presence, we begin to know His voice. Like sheep, we will follow Jesus.Additionally, we will have the strength to know if we are hearing a stranger’s voice. We will know that the stranger’s voice will only lead us down a path of destruction; it will lead us away from our shepherd.

But Jesus is a good shepherd. In John 10:11, He says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” That is exactly what Jesus did. He laid down His life for us. John 10:18 reads, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and take it up again. This command I received from the Father.” In this specific verse, Jesus is referencing His life. He is stating that no one can take His life from him; rather, He offers His life up. That is exactly what He did.

Jesus knew what was going to happen, but He did not run. Instead, He stayed.

He waited.

He waited to be taken.

He waited to be beaten.

He waited to be mocked.

He waited to be humiliated.

He waited to be murdered.

He waited for us.

 The story of Jesus fills us with many emotions, but two of the most powerful are gratefulness and love. When reading about what Jesus did for us and learning that He knew this was to come, you may feel overwhelming emotions. It is difficult to grasp the concept of how much He loves us. There is no other love like that in the world. Jesus loved us so much that He came to earth, faced many struggles, and endured a brutal murder simply so we could be set free.

And even more, God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to save us (John 3:16). He wanted us to have a chance at a better life with Him. He wanted us to be free. He wanted to save us. John 10:29 says, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

We have been saved.

We are protected.

No matter what your day may bring, remember that Jesus laid down His life for you. Remember that the God of the universe loves you.

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