27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Jesus, he showed us the best example of humility, the word of God tells us that he did not consider equality with God something of an advantage, but instead, made himself nothing. But though he lowered himself, he always knew his identity.
In the book of John, he gives (Bold and firm declarations) what could consider, boastful declaration of his identity. In this very chapter, in verse 11 he declares himself “the good shepherd”. And he follows that by saying, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
He was confident in his identity. He always sought to please his father, to the point that he gave his life to save us. At one point or another, we were lost sheep, far off from him… but as he says, his sheep listen to his voice. Jesus, he knows us, and because of his love, we follow him.
In the book of Revelations, Jesus says that he knocks at the door, and whoever opens up, he will eat with that person. Jesus, he wants to be in everyone’s life. He deeply wants all to accept him and open up their life.
Jesus, he’s the one seeking us first, he’s the one speaking to us first. But, because of sin, we close our hearts, our lives and we don’t listen to him. We don’t want to speak to him.
Jesus, he wasn’t caught up in his own concerns, he wasn’t hindered from following God, even though it would cost him his life.
Jesus on possessions:
He once told a young rich man in Matthew 19:21,
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
That young man went home sad because his earthly riches were more important than following Jesus.
In our country, we have an abundance of things, and we have instant access to everything. There’s a billboard for high speed internet that says [it can] download a TV show in 3 seconds. We have this, food, clothing, yet we are so unhappy.
If you were to ask anyone who has the biggest house, fastest car, or largest bank account, they will tell you they find themselves striving for more. I’ve personally have had friends, relationships, career goals, talents, and fun, yet, I always felt empty with those things. Even today, there are many things I desire, but as I put them aside, I realize more and more the life of Christ [fills me up completely].
Jesus put everything else aside for God, and through his priority of God first, and us following, he truly was the master of all things. Think about it like this: when you want something and feel miserable because you can’t get it and happy if you get it, but then that thing is lost, suddenly you’re miserable again; can you really say that thing belonged to you, or does that thing own you?
In the 11th chapter of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul writes a long list of examples of people who lived by faith, in other words, people who trusted God, people who put their concerns in god’s hands. Paul begins chapter 12 by saying
Hebrews 12 New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus the perfect example, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. But the beautiful thing is, though he had the strongest faith, he was not a superhero. He was very much just as human as any of us. He prayed.
– Jesus’ confident prayers, two different outwardly, yet both confident in God.
He prayed early, often, and sometimes all night, and in these two prayers, we see, though he was afraid in the latter, he was always confident in God.
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus in the garden
40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[c]
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
He had so much fear, he was so stressed, but he trusted it all to God, saying “your will be done.” He trusted in God with all his heart.
We today, we strive to trust that even if it comes out bad by our view, the love of the father that loves us will bring good. Jesus taught that even the smallest faith, the faith the size of a mustard seed, even that is precious, but we desire to grow.
There was a story in the old testament that showed this outstanding faith as well. When the Israelites were captured, the Assyrian King tried to make them worship the idols of his kingdom. The prophet Daniel had three friends that vowed to never do that.
The king threatened to burn them in a huge furnace, but they told him
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
The conclusion of this is they were thrown in the furnace, and the fire was turned on, but God saved them, and they were not harmed. Even though they had their lives threatened, they learned what we learn in the book of Romans.
Romans 8 28
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Through stories like Joseph’s, where his brothers hated him and sold him into slavery, or Jesus who came bringing love, but was killed by sinful man, God always works even within the sin that is present in our lives.
People may hurt you, they may mean their actions for harm, but God means it for good. When we serve God, God will take everything and turn it over for good. All we must do is trust and believe.
The weight of all the struggles, burdens and hardships will be too intense for us alone, but through the Word and prayer, we can put it in God’s hands.