Live Connected! – John 10.22-30

My sheep hear my voice. I know them,
and they follow me. I give them eternal life.

shepherd2There is something powerfully intimate in Jesus’ words. He points to a deep connection between shepherd and sheep, between himself and his followers. The kind of intimate connection that allows a parent to hear her child’s voice in a room crowded with other noisy children. The kind of intimacy that allows a father to know their sleeping child by touch or smell in a darkened room.

My sheep hear my voice. I know them,
and they follow me. I give them eternal life.

This connection, this intimacy, is a theme all throughout John’s Gospel. In chapter 15 Jesus describes this intimate relationship like a vine and branches. Jesus is the vine, the source of life, and his followers are branches, drawing all that they need to be whole, alive and fruitful.

Jesus goes on to say that his followers are to “abide” or “remain” in him. That word “abide” means to be closely connected with, to dwell deeply. Someone once described it as having a life that’s constantly marinating in God’s presence and God’s love. I like that!
Jesus is clearly calling us to live connected to him, in a deep and intimate way, and that this connection leads to eternal life. Eternal life in John’s Gospel isn’t just life after you die, though that’s part of it, of course. For John, eternal life is joyful and abundant life here and now in the new Kingdom of God.

Unfortunately, there are many things that can interfere with living lives that are connected – with each other and with God.

Living Distracted 

Too much noise; to many distractions in our life.
Too much busy-ness. This video clip illustrates it well: Jungle of Distractions

The messages that bombard us each day, the things we allow to distract our focus, the temptations of Satan and the world against our faith, all of these and many more can cause us to live superficially in our relationships with God and with others. A kind smile and cheery wave each day to our neighbor over the back privacy fence, or to our coworkers in the break room, or to the person we sit next to in school or at church.

Soon, a gap opens up between the person others see and the person we are inside. And this dissonance in our lives becomes harder and harder to manage, requiring more and more distractions to soothe the underlying “dis-ease” of the gap.

My sheep hear my voice. I know them,
and they follow me. I give them eternal life.

A False Sense of Intimacy

How is intimacy portrayed on TV and in movies? Sex instead of emotional connection; superficiality instead of vulnerability.

Community intimacy based on family connections or heritage, versus intimacy based on common purpose and vision

Replacing intimacy with other things. Adam and Eve were connected to God, but sin entered the picture. They distrusted what God had intended for them, breaking of the first commandment; putting themselves and their own desires in the place of God.

Jesus an Example
Jesus was someone who lived connected to God and to his disciples. Such a disparate group of disciples are unified by their relationship with Jesus. Jesus and God are one – united in focus of accomplishing God’s mission for the world. 

Paul’s image of the body in 1 Corinthians 12 is one example of what this can look like. Of being united in our ministry, but not uniform or homogenous in our attitudes or beliefs or backgrounds.

My sheep hear my voice. I know them,
and they follow me. I give them eternal life.

Jesus is calling us to live connected to him in a way that changes the way we live. More than just knowing “about” God; God wants us to know him; to have a relationship with him. That’s what faith is about: having a relationship with God, not a head knowledge about God. God created us to be in a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus, and to be in healthy relationships with the people he has given us to love and care for.

shepherd1Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is about relationships. Faith is not about a list of do’s and don’ts, a series of dogmatic theological statements or the practice of religious piety. Faith is, first and foremost, a relationship with Jesus. God created us, beyond all other creatures, with the capacity for intimacy, an intimate relationship with God through faith in Jesus, and intimacy with one another. Jesus gave his life for the sake of preserving, forgiving and renewing that relationship with us.

About Allen

Child of God, husband, father of two brilliant daughters, pastor and recent dmin graduate at George Fox University near Portland OR. My spiritual home is in the North American Lutheran Church, where I am currently between positions and upgrading my landscaping and home repair skills. "diakonia" (pronounced "dee-ak-on-ee'-ah") is a word found in the Greek New Testament used to describe (variously) either a specific kind to help any people in need, or a more general serving at table or the distribution of financial resources. In Acts 6, Stephen and others are chosen to serve the early Christian community there in Jerusalem, and the Church has had a "deaconate" in one form or another ever since. I've given my blog this title as a reminder that our faith is lived out where our faith and our service intersect.
Video | This entry was posted in Reflections and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Live Connected! – John 10.22-30

  1. Pingback: Intimacy with our inner life | Wholeheartedness

  2. Pingback: Knowing God (Part 1) « The Messenger

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s