What If Tom Cruise Is Right? (John 10)

*How do you know which “voice” is God’s? I mean how do you know that we shouldn’t be praying to Tom Cruise to use his witchcraft to put out invisible fires?
 
As thinkers such as Tim Keller, Ravi Zacharias and others have pointed out, there are religions that seek to escape the world and there are religions that seek to engage it.
 
Of the three that truly seek to engage the world, (i.e., Judaism, Islam and Christianity), they all have very different views of Jesus.  Even within Christianity there are contrasting views of Christ.  So, how do you know which Jesus is the real one?
 
What does Jesus have to say about it? See John 10:1-42.

10:1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, [1] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

These passages raise questions about issues such as eternal salvation or being “once saved always saved” but that’s not an issue we are all going to agree about, so, while we can discuss it, we shouldn’t divide over it.  The more interesting question is what this passage says about Jesus’ own understanding of his person, his mission and what it means to all of us.
 
Jesus says that he and the Father are one.  They are not at odds with one another but share the same vision and the vision is for those of us to follow Jesus to have life and have it “abundantly” (v.10).
 
How? By laying down his life (v.14-18).  This is not health & wealth Jesus but the God Man who reconciles we rebellious creatures to our creator, so that we are free to worship Him and be in a true relationship with Him.
 
It all boils down to this, God loves us so much that He gives us freedom, even the freedom to do evil.  Love is never coerced. Ravi Zacharias writes, “Having the freedom to love when you may choose not to love is to give love legitimate meaning.”
 
Moreover, He loves us so much that He provides a free remedy to heal the wounds caused by this evil.  In fact, He provides His very own life to heal the world He loves so much as to give it the freedom to rebel against him.  
 
He then calls those who are being healed through sacrificial love and forgiveness to be healers who also sacrificially love and forgive.  No other voice sounds like this one. 
 
Ironically, by experiencing this love & forgiveness and then giving everything up to distribute this love and forgiveness to others we find “life abundant” (v.10). 
 
Have you ever heard the story of Dr. J. Robertson McQuilken and his wife? For 20 years he cared for her while she suffered from alzheimer’s disease.  She would wonder away.  She would ask the same questions over and over again.  She would fail to recognize the only one who truly loved her.  This went on for year, after year, after year. Yet, when it looked like she would slip away he wrote,
 
Please Lord, could you let me keep her a little longer? If Jesus took her home, how I would miss her gentle presence.  Oh yes, there are times when I get irritated, but not often.  It doesn’t make sense.  And beside, I love to care for her.  She’s my precious.
 
This is as close as we get to seeing how God loves us.
 
Jesus says, “no one will snatch them out of my hand” (v.29). Nothing you have done or can do will can cause God not love you. This is the only voice worth following.

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