The Voice of the Shepherd

Day 139

1 Samuel 24:1-25:44; John 10:22-42; Psalm 116:1-19; Proverbs 15:20-21

The Voice of the Shepherd

Sadly, no matter what God does or says, there are certain people whose hearts are so hard to Him that they will never turn and believe. The root source of such hardness of heart can come from many places: prideful arrogance, greed, lust for vain pursuits.

So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” – John 10:24

The question and statement at face value sounds like a genuine desire to know Jesus. But as we read deeper into the text we find out He already has told them plainly, and yet they did not believe. By the time we reach the end of John chapter 10, the same questioners are picking up stones to stone Him for blasphemy.

In the opening chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus is identified as the Creator, the True Light that enlightens all people, the Word made flesh dwelling among us. And yet there is also this concerning line, “He came to that which was his own but his own did not receive him.” As we arrive at chapter 10 in the Gospel, we reach a point of climax with some of the Jews and Jesus. Never has there been a more clear confrontation of the deep rejection by unbelief that Jesus received from “his own.”

Yet in spite of those who do not believe, there are also sheep who hear His voice. They recognize the Good Shepherd. They know that the Good Shepherd would lead them through the valley of the shadow of death to still waters that revive the soul.

The difference between those who reject Jesus and those who hear His voice really truly comes down to matters of the heart. For the hardhearted, no amount of logical reasoning or displays of the power of God will convince them to give their lives to Jesus. But those who are the sheep of the Good Shepherd need only to hear His voice, and they respond by faith. Soften your heart and open your ears to the sound of the Shepherd’s voice.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:27-28

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you have promised that those who hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow Him will never perish but receive eternal life. Speak to my heart, guide me, open my life to receive the abundant life that you promise to those who follow the voice of the Shepherd. In the name of your Son our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine
Houston, TX

Finding Faith on the Run

Day 138

1 Samuel 22:1‐23:29; John 10:1‐21; Psalm 115:1‐18; Proverbs 15:18‐19

Finding Faith on the Run

Who can forget the mid-60s TV series “The Fugitive,” with David Janssen on the run? In our Biblical narrative, David is also a fugitive running from King Saul who had put a contract out on his life. He spent a large amount of time hiding in a network of caves around the Dead Sea. It would be in solitude that David learned much about prayer, about his own faith, and about the Lord who called him into service, anointed at the hand of Samuel.

While on the run, David would learn lessons that he would later record in the Psalms. He would learn that the Lord was his help and his shield. He would learn to trust in the Lord. He would learn that in spite of his natural inclination to kill King Saul when he had a chance, it was not his bidding to be the one who would eliminate his adversary.

David would learn to wait on the Lord instead of making things happen on his timetable. It would be in the caves that he would befriend Ahimilech, Abiathar, and Jonathan, who at times would challenge and comfort him. These friendships would at another time cost people their lives!

Eventually, Saul is killed in an unrelated battle and David returns to Judah to claim his position as king. Yet he would never forget the time in refuge, the time in hiding, and the lessons learned while solely depending on God alone.

Rev. Scott T. Holcombe
St. David’s by the Sea Episcopal Church
Cocoa Beach, FL

Was Blind but Now I See

Day 137

1 Samuel 20:1‐21:15; John 9:1‐41; Psalm 113:1‐114:8; Proverbs 15:15‐17

Was Blind but Now I See

These are familiar words from a familiar hymn. Perhaps more familiar to us are the words of a hymn than words from John’s Gospel. In the Gospel story, the man who was born blind receives his physical sight from “the light of the world,” Jesus. In his hymn “Amazing Grace,” ex-slave trader John Newton recounts his journey out of the darkness of spiritual blindness into full-sighted life in Christ through His grace.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

Both physical and spiritual healing have the same source: the One who came to shine light into all of our darkness.

Neither man remained the same once he had been touched by the source of all life and light. Even those who had known him since birth had difficulty recognizing the healed blind man, and John Newton’s life was so transformed that he became an Anglican clergyman and mentored the man who was finally able to abolish the slave trade in England, William Wilberforce.

Have we allowed that healing light to extinguish our darkness so that people who have known us since birth can see the transformation?

The Rev. Sarah Bronos
Church of the Good Shepherd
Maitland, FL