Lectio Divina Reflections (8)

My name is Ken Timmermans. I’ve been a part of the community at Calvary for 13 years and have led the Calvary Coffee Bar ministry for the last 4 years. Currently I work for The Mustard Seed as a frontline drop-in centre staff providing basic services for, and working with, people experiencing poverty in Edmonton. In my spare time I like to play board games and video games, make lamps out of upcycled material, and collect interesting rocks and stones. Here are some of my thoughts as I contemplate this week’s passage, John 10:6-18

The passage of John 10:6-18 expands further on the parable Jesus spoke just prior in John 10, and talks more about the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. Jesus illustrates a scene in which there are sheep in a fold with a door, a shepherd or a hireling and a host of thieves and robbers. In terms of our relationship with Jesus, we are the sheep and Jesus is the door/shepherd. He explains that we can only be saved by being led into the kingdom, by hearing his voice and by following him in, not by entering some other way apart from him.  

Jesus continues to speak about his relationship with us by differentiating himself from a hired hand, someone simply tasked to look after the sheep. No, he describes himself here as a GOOD shepherd, someone who owns the sheep and would do anything to protect and nourish the sheep. Jesus will protect us when we are in danger or under attack, so that we may have abundant life. 

In this passage Jesus also uses the illustration of a shepherd and his sheep to describe an intimate relationship between us. He knows us and we know him, much like how Jesus knows the Father and the Father knows Jesus. We spend time together and we hear his voice and can follow his leading. This loving relationship is extended to include believers and even non-believers; Jesus has a relationship with them as well and they too hear his voice and are called to be part of the fold.  

Finally, Jesus speaks of the awesome authority that he has in caring and sacrificing himself for us. He has the power to both sacrifice his life and also to take it up again as he did with his death and resurrection. Furthermore, he chooses to protect us and sacrifice himself for us rather than doing so out of happenstance.

When I place myself into this passage, I see myself as a sheep that is under attack or is being distracted. Over the past several months, I’ve enjoyed working at a large drop-in centre for people experiencing poverty at the Edmonton Expo Centre with other fellow agencies from around the city. We’ve been using the conference centre to maintain social distancing during the covid 19 pandemic. It’s been good, steady, and rewarding work. But unfortunately, our time there is coming to a close at the end of the month and I face a challenging time of uncertainty with very little idea of what happens next. I feel lost or blind, like there is a thick fog surrounding me and I cannot see past my outstretched hand.  

This passage tells me, despite all the unknowns and troubles we face, that Jesus is still here and we know each other. I’m comforted by the truth that Jesus has saved and nourished me time and time again. Like the sheep know the shepherd’s voice, so too do I know the Lord’s presence because of the relationship Jesus has with me. I will admit however, that sometimes it is hard to hear God’s calling and direction in troubled times such as these. For me, this passage serves as a reminder to not be distracted by everything that’s happening and to listen for the voice of Jesus. 

Thank you, Jesus, for being the good shepherd and for all the ways you’ve protected and saved me throughout my life. Thank you that you are willing and able to have a relationship with us and that we know your voice. Thank you for the love you have for your people, the church, as well as for those outside the church. I hope that those outside the church may hear your loving voice and be drawn to you. I hope that we may welcome them to the fold and that we may always know your awesome love. 

I ask forgiveness for the times when I’ve been distracted and have not heard your voice. In these challenging times, please give us some quiet time to really hear your voice and be in relationship with you. I ask also for your guiding in a challenging time; please guide me as only a good shepherd does. 

Spending time on this passage has reminded me of how Jesus loves me. Not just in the big ways like dying on the cross to pay for my sins, but also in the little ways. Jesus knows me and knows how to love me everyday. As I look back on my life, I also know that there are times when Jesus has protected me, in ways that I may never fully know. This passage invites me into that relationship by reminding me to listen often and spend more time experiencing the voice and love that Jesus has for me.

Did you try out Lectio Divina this week with John 10:6-18? Share your reflections here! If you still would like to follow with our community and contemplate weekly passages of scripture with us, check out the guide to Lectio Divina and this week’s podcast or subscribe to weekly podcast releases on Apple music.

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