Do I Know You
Great Bible Study tonight on John 10 at Hill House!
1) You are hosting a seminar speaker and while walking down the hall with them, you see, coming towards you a colleague from another department with a joint appointment whom you know but rarely see. You start to introduce your guest and realize that your colleague’s name has completely left you. Awkward for all involved.
2) You are at an international conference. Coming down the hall is the founder of your field, whom you met once 30 years ago when a first year grad student. You start to introduce yourself to them, but they interrupt, call you by name, saying, “I remember meeting you at the Helsinki conference in ‘82. I’m impressed with your work so far and am looking forward to your talk tomorrow at 3:20.” You feel like you have ‘arrived,’ and the talk you were bored about giving now has significance.
Jesus says, “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Something to know about sheep. Sheep are dumb. It isn’t enough that wolves, bears and lions find them an easy tasty target. Sheep will starve on their own. They don’t even know how to find their own foraging. This is the highly complementary picture Scripture regularly uses for Homo sapiens. Yet, we are a treasure to God. Go figure. As academics, it is sometimes easy to see the ‘unwashed masses’ as sheep. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t make a distinction. In fact, the above passage was spoken in the presence of, and directed toward the Pharisees, who were the intellectual elite of their day. Jesus is rebuking and teaching the faculty of Jerusalem, calling them sheep.
The irony and the loving insult were not lost on them. The insult, because it was demeaning to be thought of as a sheep. The loving, because Christ knows us by name and knows us in the very same way He knows the Father. In that context of knowing us, past, present and future, good, bad, evil, ugly and dumb, He lays down His life for us.