Devotional: Figure of Speech
As we return to our series, “Exalted Christ,” we come upon John chapter 10. Jesus is in the middle of addressing the Pharisees, and as a means of making His message easier to understand, He uses “a figure of speech,” and compares us to sheep. Figures of speech are obviously not meant to be literal, but to showcase a helpful comparison. Jesus, in describing us as sheep, is comparing us to Himself, as a shepherd.
Many times, when we hear that we are sheep, we use a low perspective of ourselves and think of it as Jesus calling us unintelligent–sheep are notoriously dumb. But that’s not the case. Compared to Jesus, we know as much as sheep do compared to their shepherd. The distance between what’s good for a sheep and their need for a shepherd to bring about their good is the same distance between what’s good for us and our need for God. That’s why it’s a figure of speech – us being “sheep” is not a literal thing, but it’s a comparison for our understanding.
Questions for Meditation
- Sheep are vulnerable. They can be deceived, they can be tempted, and they’re vulnerable to predators. In what ways are we vulnerable in our lives? What happens when you’re not aware of those vulnerabilities?
- We all have spiritual adversaries that want to steal, kill, and destroy us. When sheep are in an environment surrounded by wolves and adversaries, they need any help they can get. The same goes for us – independence is dangerous. How can we guard against being so independent that we become more susceptible to attacks?
- In the passage, the gatekeeper lets the shepherd in the gate. All sheep need gatekeepers and all sheep need flocks. In the same way, we all need people who actively bring Jesus into our lives, and we all need to be around fellow sheep – the church. How have gatekeepers – perhaps a parent, or a leader – shown you Jesus in your life?
- Why is the role of a gatekeeper so important? In what ways can you be a gatekeeper for somebody else?
- We all need The Shepherd – Jesus. What happens when we, as sheep, don’t follow the Shepherd? And in what ways can that subtly happen?
- In this week, what are some of the ways you can ask the Shepherd to feed you, to keep you safe, and help you be productive in your life?