THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Our Lord had just cured a blind man by birth, who had been questioned strongly by the Pharisees (John 9); and was speaking to him after he was throwed out of the Jewish congregation.
This man, convinced by the miracle that had happened to him, submitted to our Lord when He revealed to him who He was (John 9:35-37). As Jesus commended that He had come to the world to ‘make the blind recover their sight, and to blind those who claim to see’ in clear reference to the unbelief of the Pharisees, these Jews came to confront Him about what He said about them.
Jesus told them that He had presented Himself openly as the Messiah from the beginning (Luke 4:16-21), but regardless, even when He performed great miracles, they refused to believe in Him, because they were ‘not’ of his flock; but instead, some others did, as the blind man, because they were of who were counted as his.
Furthermore, in clear reference to Election and Predestination, He elaborated that others who came before Him, were thieves and robbers, in other words ‘False Messiahs’ who only came to destroy, but those ‘who know Him’ even before they had seen Him, never followed them, because they ‘knew’ Jesus’s voice; but as soon as He appeared, they followed Him, as if their Saviour’s voice was implanted in them before birth.
He finally said that He Himself was the ‘Door’ or entry to Eternal Life, and those sheep who entered through Him, will find eternal life.
Three things are taught to us by our Lord:
1 – Only those who are predestined to believe, will eventually come to believe, as driven by a natural ability to recognize God’s call at certain time in their lives. However, there are some people who never will accept God’s call and are exactly those who never come to the faith, or eventually abandon the faith permanently to never return, like Judas Iscariot’s case.
2 – However, this acceptance of God’s call to believe in Jesus, requires an act of personal will. It is not imposed. It is not a ‘fake decision’. When we are counted within that flock that will recognize the Call of the Master; it is because in his foreknowledge, God the Father has selected us for salvation before birth, in knowledge of our future acceptance of Jesus; and then, facilitated the road to faith in the present time of the elected. We are elected, our salvation guaranteed, but because we have decided to accept Jesus’s call to the end of our lives. God never leaves any human without a real opportunity for salvation. However, some have decided to reject our Lord Jesus for whatever reason, and thus, have sealed their doom for eternity as soon as God foreknew their future rejection of His Son.
3 – The final lesson is the all sufficient element of salvation, who is JESUS Himself. He declared IAM THE DOOR. Not I am the teacher of salvation, or the message that I bring you. No. He said He was. Himself, the person of the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth.
Everything Jesus did and taught and commanded, are side elements to the salvation that He performs personally, through his atonement and forgiveness of sins. Everything else, sacraments, baptism, good conduct, etc; only have value in Him, for what He is and has done for us. Without Jesus personal desire to save us, without his mercy for us, without his love, without the atonement, all those practices, baptism, Lord’s supper and moral living will do nothing at all. They will be empty, and we will be condemned all the same.
But to enter HIM, we need, like the blind man, to believe in Him. It is only through faith that we can come to Him and receive the necessary Grace that is required to persevere to the end for salvation and do all this commands. Without faith, there is nothing. Without faith, we are dead. Nothing will save us.
Let us give thanks to God for allow us to come to Jesus in the first place, and to benefit from his atoning sacrifice and mercy. But also let us be aware of our responsibility to follow Jesus every day of our lives, the best we can, but to remain in the faith; knowing that nobody on Earth knows for sure who is predestined to salvation. Only those who remain to the end will be saved. Let us be one of Jesus’s flock, by God’s mercy, and enter confidently into His Kingdom.