First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @


May 2019

The Door of the Sheep

John 10:1-21

Review:  Jesus tells a parable (vv. 1-6) to illustrate a truth by way of something everyone knew about – sheep and their own shepherd.  The sheep of a particular herd personally knew their shepherd…Jesus explains the parable (vv. 7-18) as being the gate or door for the sheep…Jesus states He gives His sheep a pasture (v. 9), gives them fullness of life (v. 10), is ready to die for them (v. 11), and has a personal relationship with each one as He does with His Father (v. 15)…Even death cannot separate Him from His sheep (v. 18)…The response to these sayings is mixed among the Jews (vv. 19-21).

Analysis:  The OT content alluded to in this parable are many (cp. Psalm 23, Jer. 23, Ezek. 34, 36)…Each of these illustrate the friction that existed and exists between sheep, between shepherds and sheep, and ultimately between underling shepherds and the head Shepherd.  God, that is…”Other sheep I have which are not of this fold” (v. 16) must refer to non-Jews or Gentiles (cp. Isa. 56:1-8, Acts 15:7-11, Eph. 2:11-22)…That the Jews didn’t know what to make of Jesus’ parable and explanation (vv. 19-21) is little different compared to people today…The difference, back then, is Jesus claiming to be “the good shepherd” who informed Jews would have identified with the God of Psalm 23.

The Best the World Has…

John 19:15-22 (NLT)

19-20  And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews…and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.”

This is the day of preparation for the Passover.  Think about how busy we are the day before Christmas.  There are lots of preparations and people are very busy getting ready.  And so it was in that day and time, as people in Jerusalem were busy and preoccupied with all of the preparations to celebrate Passover.

Now the leading, chief priests had been conspiring to have Jesus crucified early that morning while most people were sleeping and then getting up to prepare for Passover.  As you read John’s Gospel you can make a case that the people who shouted “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday were not the same people who shouted “Crucify him,” on this day of days.  This crowd pressuring Pilate to crucify Jesus was carefully, slyly, organized by the leading priests to force Pilate’s hand, while most people were preparing for Passover.

Pilate hates the leading priests and they hate him, the representative of Roman occupation, a foreign government in the holy city of Jerusalem.  It is ironic that Pilate would call Jesus the king of the Jews; and he does it to irritate the leading priests, as Jesus does not appear to be a king.  On the other hand, it’s ironic that the leading priests would ever say, “We have no king but Caesar.”  They hated Caesar but they hated Jesus even more. And so they pressure Pilate into crucifying Jesus because Pilate wants to avoid a riot, and one during Passover when Jerusalem’s population has swelled for that celebration.

Pilate, doesn’t want to crucify Jesus, but he wants to keep the fragile peace in a land where revolutionaries and zealots were lurking.  Pilate gives in and places the sign on the cross, ““Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”  With that sign he further irritates the leading priests and it’s intentional. 

The sign is written in three languages, Hebrew, the language of the religion; Latin, the language of government; and Greek, the language of the Philosophers.  And here we see the best of religion, governance, and philosophy crucifying Jesus.  The best the world has to offer is there, at the crucifixion of the Savior.

Sometimes, even our best falls short because we are sinful people in need of the saving grace, love, and forgiveness of Jesus offered to us through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.  Thanks be to God for the merciful, forgiveness given to us in and through Jesus Christ.  Today, I encourage you to celebrate the saving-grace of Jesus.

Our God gives us Peace

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

This Bible verse is currently taped on my desk, written on a white notecard, and it’s been there for a few months now. Whenever I find myself struggling with a situation this is the verse I pray.

And it is wonderful.

How can I describe the peace that surpasses all understanding?

It’s like a blanket wrapped around you, like a warmth that blooms in your chest and spreads throughout your body, like a sudden ability to breathe even though you were hyperventilating and crying moments before.

Our God is a God of supernatural peace because He know what’s coming. He knows what’s next and He knows that He is with us through every journey. The peace that surpasses all understanding comes when we release ourselves to God and stop holding onto the things that hurt us.


When we surrender control, when we believe God is who He says He is.

I get it. That’s not always easy.

Have you been praying for years for the same thing? Have you been faithful in service and feel wretched and drained in the process? Do you look at your life and think that everything bad in it is because you’re not good enough?

Let me tell you, dear brothers and sisters, it is in those moments that you must breathe and remind yourself of the promise of the Prince of Peace.

Once you realize He’s got it all under control, it’s so much easier to release those shoulders. It’s so much easier to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and shield our hearts and minds against painful attacks from the enemy.

Imagine it. The peace fo God guarding your heart and mind in Christ Jesus–like an invisible, strong, sturdy, and perfect wall that will fight for you (personally, I picture a swirling white mist that gives off a light so bright that the darkness burst into flames).

A few verses to help re-establish that peace:

The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still. Exodus 14:14

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

See a theme here? Be. Still. Wait on God. Trust in God.

And always keep fighting the good fight.


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