Who Knows Who

“I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  John 10:14, 15.

I find the wording here fascinating.  Did you catch it too?

Jesus put the believer on par with His Father in knowing Him.  Yet I don’t think He’s talking about the depth of knowledge here, rather He’s pointing to the fact of it.  Those who know Jesus recognize Him wherever they meet His influence.  In this way they are like the Father because they are aware of Christ at all times.

But who is the hired hand in this parable?

I don’t think it’s a God designated position by choice, instead the person chooses tending sheep as a throw away career.  In other words, they might be just about anybody who either falls into service in the kingdom or chooses it out of pressure or a desire for its fringe benefits.  These types of people don’t really know their own Master for they run at the first sign of threat to the flock.  The comparison couldn’t be more poignant for the leaders of Israel than if Jesus had spelled it out.  The leaders of Israel had no real knowledge (as a body of leadership) of God.  They bought into the Law out of self-preservation and ancestral loyalty.

What started this discussion?  The blind man’s healing.  Jesus is telling the leaders and Pharisees (who were an influential sect in Israel at that time) they were acting like hired guns, ready to cut and run at the first sign of real danger. 

So how does this apply to the man born blind’s situation?

As far as I can reason it out, they assigned the punishment for sin on people like to the blind man out of ignorance and getting an easy answer to a difficult problem.  Answering why there the righteous suffer alongside of the guilty gives any good theologian a headache.  Coming to a workable conclusion, even if it has holes we can see, is better than none at all.  Plus, the Ten Commands seemed to be saying just that anyway when it brought the sins of the fathers onto the children clear down to the third and fourth generation.  (See Exodus 20:4-6)  This command, though, focused on the sin of idols, which they took as a blanket statement.

The problem with the Pharisees’ (and others’) reasoning is they ignored Ezekiel‘s dismissal of their own conclusion in three places where he quotes God as saying,  “The man who sins will die…if his son repents and does not follow his father’s evil, he will not suffer for the father’s sins.”  (My paraphrase).  So why would they cop into such an easy out if this were true?

Simple:  they were hired guns.  They liked the esteem being in the public service brought them but they cared very little for the burden of humanity.  In other words, they were not of God’s heart just God’s chosen people.  Anyone who cops out of studying the Word in depth to find God’s heart will rely on extreme conclusions—or they will lean that way.  There are so many books written which address why the righteous suffer it’s amazing.  I mean just a simple study of the book of Job should send these Pharisees running for their pens to rewrite their commentaries.  Job suffered despite being found a righteous man.  There was no sin in his family he didn’t cover with a sacrifice nor was there any outstanding problem God needed to deal with in him.  The fact that Job learned humility and a greater trust in God through his experience didn’t mean that he was unrighteous by God’s standards.

Have you ever noticed children when they play always end up with a leader?  Depending on the nature of this child the play will be free or dictated.  The more power a child holds over the others the more whimsical their demands and harsh their judgments.  The saying  “Absolute power absolutely corrupts” applies even here because we cannot hold it without becoming drunk with it.  The Pharisees and leaders were in a position of being unquestionable by the common people.  The average person did not read in that era, though most men memorized a book of the law for bar mitzvah, they probably didn’t read on a regular basis.  The leaders could reveal or withhold information as they chose; emphasize this over that and generally dictate the game being played.

Jesus came to shake up this apple cart.  He goes onto say,  “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.  They too listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from my Father.”

The people from other “pens” must mean the gentiles, for Jesus reached out to them as well.  The thought of the day was that God would not even lift a finger to help a gentile unless that person converted to Judaism.  And that could be true, to a certain extent.  Jesus, on the other hand, came as an ambassador to reconcile all people to God.  The Jews were supposed to live as the priests of the nations, dispensing God’s message of grace, mercy, righteous living and justice to the world.  They failed to do this because they grew proud of their status as “the chosen people” and looked with disdain on the world around them.  The pendulum had swung from their past desire to imitate the other nations to thinking they were better than.

God didn’t look at the world that way.  His purpose for Israel wasn’t simply for them but a means of redeeming the world as whole.

The difference between those truly converted to the gospel and hired guns is the former take on the heart of God for the world in order to build God’s kingdom for eternity.  The hired gun does so build a kingdom for this world alone and cares very little about what comes after that.  Jesus, however, came to give us life to the full, and those who follow Him will grab this principle with both hands to dispense it to others being saved.  We will be like Him, have His heart in us and take on His purpose.

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One Response to “Who Knows Who”

  1. My Life Is Says:

    @Dan wow haha thats pretty good. hopefully you have good luck with that. keep it up

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