On the fourth Sunday of Easter we are encouraged to think about the first ten verses in the tenth chapter of John’s gospel. In my red-letter bible (a version that highlights the words of Jesus in red) I see nine verses are a record of Jesus’s actual words, which means this passage is definitely worth studying. I have three keywords but two of them need to be clarified to avoid confusion.
Jesus is replying to the Pharisees who heard him referring about spiritual blindness and asked the question ‘What? Are we blind too?’ Jesus explains that those with spiritual eyesight would identify three perspectives: PECULIAR, PROSPECTS & PROMISCIOUS.
In verses 1-6 and repeated in verses 7-10 Jesus points out that he is PECULIAR in the original sense of the word. In the late middle English period the word peculiar meant ‘different to what is normal, special, belonging exclusively to.’ It was in the early 17th century it became thought of as ‘strange’ and now it is often used to describe something weird. Those blessed with spiritual eyesight recognise Jesus as special and unique and that he is the only way to enter the sheep pen. Any other way in is false.
We are given a list of the PROSPECTS we can expect
We will be able to hear his voice and he will lead us (verse 3)
He will know us by name (3)
We will be saved (9)
We will be fed and allowed to roam (9)
We can have life and have it abundantly (10)
What a wonderful list that truly meets all our needs.
My third point about being PROMISCIOUS is obviously suggested in the positive sense of the definition. In the Collins dictionary the word as well as being described as to its usual meaning is also defined as ‘consisting of a wide range of things, indiscriminate, without discrimination’. God is generous and the abundant life he offers is extravagant and because of his grace is far beyond what we can think or imagine or deserve.
As I try to come to terms with the present situation it feels peculiar in the sense that it does feel strange and different to what I am used too. The prospects are not particularly thrilling, and my life is not consisting of the normal wide range of things. But I have to say that I am enjoying a peculiar relationship with God which gives me a perspective where I am coping, trusting and appreciating the encouragement which he affords in so many abundant ways. I will need to make an appointment with Specsavers as soon as I can but thankfully I am not suffering from spiritual blindness because I’m having regular check ups through my Bible study and prayer times.
I pray that your practical, mental and spiritual needs are being met by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen