Devotion - May 9, 2019

John 10:25-30 Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.’ Devotion by Julia Shiver After reading some commentary on this passage, I came to understand that it is about Christian unity.  Jesus is describing the splintering of what would become the Christian community.  Our human nature likes to divide people into “us” versus “them,” with “us,” of course, getting Christianity right, and “them” getting it wrong.  We like to put people in boxes with big labels so everyone knows who is “in” and who is “out.” Let me quote from this commentary.  “The game of picking one’s “thieves and robbers,” one’s “other sheep not of this fold,” is an old one.  It may also very well be fruitless.  All Christians worthy of the name must have the minimum conviction that their church or congregation is fully allied with Jesus in his work of bringing salvation to the world.  They must at the same time decide whether they treasure him as a principle of unity or a principle of division; if both, then they must face squarely the paradox he represents.  For he would have all to be one in him, according to John, but separated from the world.  If one spirit prevails over the other, the two being the spirits of unity and division, this will determine how congregations read the Fourth Gospel and how they proclaim it in their midst.  The contradictory stance makes possible a hailing of “unity” in word while causing it to be a watchword of division in deed.” This time of transition in our church is probably a good opportunity to look at ourselves clearly.  We do like to think of ourselves as the “rightminded” type of Christians, that we are more “enlightened” in our progressive, liberal attitude.  But that attitude can separate us from the whole of the Christian community, and interfere in our desire to serve Jesus. Loving Jesus is easy.  Being a Christian in this world is much more difficult.  If there was ever a time for all Christians to come together, it is now. Dear God, Please help me set aside my attitudes of “us” and “them,” my need to put labels of “right” and “wrong” on other people.  Teach me to see others as Christ does.  Help me to love as Christ loves.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching  John by Gerard Sloyan

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