In our journey through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ – we now find ourselves somewhere in the middle. We made it through the birth and early childhood of Jesus some time ago, we saw his baptism by John and his subsequent temptation in the wilderness… We saw how Jesus began his earthly ministry by choosing 12 disciples and and inviting them to follow him. We’ve also seen Jesus do some amazing miracles like turning water to wine and feeding the 5000 and even healing a variety of people.
And of course, while Jesus is doing all of this, He’s constantly preaching and teaching the Good News about the Kingdom of God. As we’ve mentioned before, Jesus’ ministry wasn’t all about performing signs and wonders to amaze the crowds of people – but rather, His purpose was to communicate vital truths about God.
Sometimes he would do that through preaching – the sermon on the mount is a good example of that. Sometimes he would do that through telling parables – like that of the sower and the seed or the Good Samaritan. Or sometimes he would just use teachable moments – as he walked along and experienced life with his disciples, he’d often use everyday objects or events to teach about life in the kingdom of God.
And since teaching and preaching was such a key part of what Jesus did, I thought it would be important, as we journey through his life and ministry – to take a moment to sample some of his teachings!
And so that’s what I want to do today.
Of course, there are a whole variety of teachings that I could chose from to share with you this morning – the Gospel are full of examples of what Jesus taught and preached. But I’ve chosen the first part of John chapter 10 to go through this morning because I think it really is an excellent summary of the central message of Jesus. Even if we had no other record of anything else that Jesus said or taught – this passage would still give us a good, clear understanding of who Jesus is and what He came to do.
Now as we’re going to see, this passage isn’t really a sermon per se or even technically a parable. But it is very similar to a parable. The Gospel of John actually doesn’t include any parables (you’ll only find those in the other three Gospels), but John does include what he calls a paroimia.
A paroimia is like a parable, but it’s less of a story (like the Good Samaritan for example) and more of a word picture. It’s almost like an object lesson – where Jesus uses a common, familiar item to explain something about Himself. It’s a figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, but it helps us understand more about who Jesus is and what He came to do.
But like His parables, these paroimias are always shrouded in a bit of mystery – it’s a bit of a riddle. And, like with his parables, many people simply did not understand what He was trying to say. And we’ll see that in our passage today.
But hopefully, as we take some time this morning to consider these paroimias in John chapter 10 – and as the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds, and speaks to us through the Scriptures – I trust that we will be able to understand and apply what Jesus is communicating to us.
So John chapter 10, starting at verse 1. It begins like this: