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Recognisably Jesus

John 10:6-9
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." (NIV)

Jesus used parables to speak about Himself and God's kingdom. But, often, His hearers did not understand. Speaking about a shepherd had not provoked them to think about Jesus as the Good Shepherd. So Jesus told them plainly that He is the gate through which people come to the safety of God's kingdom. He claimed to be the only way to be welcomed by Father God.
At the same time Jesus accused the religious leaders of the time of having no interest in the welfare of the people of God; He said that instead of caring for them, the leaders were using their position for their own advantage. In exercising power over the people, the honoured leaders were restricting their spiritual horizons and stealing the life that belonged to God. By contrast, Jesus promised a new life, under His protection but with freedom.
How often have we read the Scripture without realising it is pointing us to Jesus; and without appreciating that it is food to nourish our own souls? We may think that a particular passage would be good for someone else, but forget that God wants to speak to us personally about our relationship with Him. Jesus was clear: however valuable may be the traditions and good activity of the church, we need to come through the gate into God's sheepfold ... and the gate is Jesus. Let us recognise that Jesus is our only hope; let us advertise Him as the only 'way in' to God's presence with confidence.

Almighty God. Thank You for making Your gospel plain and for allowing me to come into Your Holy Presence as I trust in Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I am sorry when I have thought that my spiritual security depended on my virtue or my energy to please You. I know that I can only be accepted because I trust in Christ and am shielded from Your wrath over my sins by His shed blood. Help me to rejoice in Jesus today and to advertise His loving kindness to others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams