John 9:7 records light entering into a mans experience for the very first time.
When a man blind from birth found himself obeying Jesus, and then healed in John Chapter 9, the very next thing the man found himself doing was being attacked by the religious leaders of the day.
Salvation is a miracle - the miracle that Jesus chose to love me before I knew Him, and invites me to himself eternally. Isn't it amazing how people will attack miracles, forcing us to choose who we follow and who we believe through the threat of rejection and isolation.
In defending his miracle, the man found himself excommunicated. This man faced very real and powerful rejection of his friends and local community because in those days, the religious community was your community. Imagine for the first time, you can see your community, but now you can see them, all you see is rejection! Rejection aims to control you and steal your joy.
Towards the end of the chapter, Jesus specifically searches for, and finds the man giving him another option - there is another Shepherd, another leader, another way to live.
Jesus takes a moment to describe himself as a leader, calling himself the Good Shepherd. Jesus describes himself as the door - "I am the door" into a safe and satisfying space using sheep and a sheep pen as an illustration that would have been understood by the people of the day.
Now we know that a door separates two spaces, and in the case of Jesus, He separates two worlds.
Outside the door, there is torment, rejection, no peace and pressure to conform and reject the amazing saving power of Jesus. Inside the door, Jesus says there is safety, satisfaction, freedom/room and peace. But to pass into this space, Jesus says "I am the door" - we must pass through Him.
Jesus clearly teaches that we cannot pick and choose the parts we like about Christianity, but we must fully embrace Him and become followers of Jesus. The other two alternatives are:
- reject Jesus and His mercy, to reject Light and simply follow the 'other' leaders and culture of the day.
- be deceived into thinking we can enjoy some of the mercy of Jesus but not fully follow, perhaps like trying to sneak over the fence of a paddock but not really follow Jesus.
Jesus says my people hear my voice, they know me. So Jesus challenges the people saying that He is the door - and that as the True Shepherd, we hear His voice, and follow Him fully. We lay down our will, our ways and our fears, and fully enter into His life.
This is not an easy challenge to accept but just as the blind man received sight, so each of us have received the touch of the Good Shepherd upon us, a mark of witness that Jesus lives in us, and as we learn and grow in trust in Him, and obey and follow Him, we can enjoy everything heaven offers - especially hearing the sound the voice of the Good Shepherd each and everyday
In Christ, we find true peace - and we are fully satisfied.
This week, may you hear His voice, and follow the Good Shepherd.