February 27: Reality Can Bite
Leviticus 23–25; John 10:1–21; Song of Solomon 8:6–9
Reality shows are all about people who are known or want to be known—they have celebrity syndrome. The root cause of this obsession is probably, like most things, a disconnect from our Maker. As people disconnect from the God who made us, we seek affirmation from other sources. And as wrong as this desire may be, our culture makes it feel like second nature.
The Jewish people Jesus spoke to also felt displaced. They were a people who had lost touch with their guide—their shepherd. Jesus is the answer to their call.
Echoing Ezekiel 34:11–24, He says, “I am the good shepherd, and I know my own, and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” But Jesus goes one step further by adding, “and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14–15). Jesus promises that He will know us, and by echoing the very words of God, He is claiming that He is the God of Israel—He is the way God will know us. He offers the affirmation we’ve been looking for; He essentially says, “I chose you.”
But lest we understand this passage only to be about Jesus fulfilling what God had promised to the Jewish people, He remarks, “And I have other sheep which are not from this fold. I must bring these also, and they will hear my voice, and they will become one flock—one shepherd. Because of this the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take possession of it again” (John 10:16–17).
Jesus came as our good shepherd, as the one who guides us back to God. When we have the urge to obsess over those who are known to the world, or when we desire to be known ourselves, we can be assured that Jesus knows us. He knows you, and me, and He was still willing to die for us.
In what ways are you seeking to be known by people or obsessing over those who are well-known? What can you do to change that?
JOHN D. BARRY
- And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, The feasts of the Lord which ye shall call the holy assemblies, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done, but in the seventh day shall be the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation: ye shall do no work therein, it is the Sabbath of the Lord, in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the Lord, and holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the first month and in the fourteenth day of the month at evening shall be the Passover of the Lord. And on the fifteenth day of this month shall be the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In t he first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Also ye shall offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord seven days, and in the seventh day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the lando which I give unto you, and reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the Priest, And he shall shake the sheaf before the Lord, that it may be acceptable fo ryou: the morrow after the Sabbath, the Priest shall shake it. And that day when ye shae the sheaf, shall ye prepare a lamb without blemishe of a year old, for a burnt offering unto the Lord: And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, for a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord of sweet savor: and the drink offering thereof the fourth part of an Hin of wine. And ye shall eat neither bread nor parched corn, nor green ears until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: this shall be a Law forever in your generations and in all your dwellings. Ye shall count also to you from the morrow after the Sabbath, even from the day that ye shall bring the sheaf of the shake offering, seven Sabbaths, they shall be complete. Unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days: then ye shall bring a new meat offering unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitations bread for the shake offering: they shall be two loaves of two tenth deals of fine flour, which shall be baken with leaven for firstfruits unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitations bread for the shae offering: they shall be two loaves of two tenth eals of fine flour, which shall be baken with leaven for firstfruits unto the Lord. also ye shall offer the bread seven lambs without blemish of one year old, and a young bullock and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, for a sacrifice made by fire of a sweet savor unto the Lord. Then ye shall prepare an he goat for a sin offering, and two lambs of one year old for peace offerings. And the Priest shall shake them to and fro with the bread of the firstfruits before the Lord, and with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the Lord, for the Priest. So ye shall proclaim the same day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be an ordinance forever in all your dwellings, throughout your generations. And when you reap the harest of your land, thou shalt not rid clean the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou make any aftergathering of thy harvest, but shalt leave them unto the poor and to the stranger, I am the Lord your God.And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say, in the seventh month, and in the first day of the month shal ye have a Sabbath, for the remembrance of blowing the trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile sowrk therein, but offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, The tenth also of this seventh month, shall be a day of reconciliation: it shall be an holy convocation unto you, and ye shall huble your souls, and offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work that same day; for it is a day of reconciliation, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For every person that humbleth not himself that same day, shall even be cut off from his people. And every person that shall do any work that same day, the same person also will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall don no manner work therefore: this shall be a law forever in your generations, throughout all your dwellings. This shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall humble your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Spea unto the children of Israel, and say, In the fifteenth day of the month, shall be for seven days the feast of Tabernacles unto the Lord. In the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord, and in the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you, and ye shall offer sacrifices made by fire unto the Lord: it is the solemn assembly, ye shall do no servile work therein. These are the feasts of the Lord (which ye shall call holy convocations) to offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord, as burnt offering, and meat offering, sacrifice, and drink offerings, every one upon his day, Beside the Sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your free offerings, which ye shall give unto the Lord. But in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep an holy feat unto the Lord seven days: in the first day shall be a Sabbath: likewise in the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. And ye shall take you in the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. So ye shall keep this feast unto the Lord seven days in the year, by a perpetual ordinance through your generations: in the seventh month shall you keep it. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days: all that are Israelites born, shall dwell in booths, That your posterity may know that I have made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. So Moses declared unto the children of Isreal the feasts of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten, for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continuallly. Without the veil of the Testimony, in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, shall Aaron dress them, both even and morning before the Lord always: this shall be a law forever through your generations. He shall dress the lamps upon the pure Candlestick before the Lord perpetually. Also thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six in a row upon the pure table before the Lord. Thou shalt also put pure incense upon the rows, that instead of the bread it may be for a remembrance, and an offering made by fire unto the Lord. Every Sabbath he shall put them in rows before the Lord evermore, receiving them of the children of Israel for an everlasting Covenant. And the bread shall be Aaron’s and his sons’, and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual ordinance. And there went out among the children of Israel the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian; and this son of the Israelitish woman, and a man of Israel strove together in the host. So the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the Name of the Lord, and cursed, and they brouht him unto Moses (his mother’s name also was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan) And they put him in ward, till he told them the mind of the Lord. Then the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring the blasphemer without the host, and let all that heard him, put their hands upon his head, and let all the Congregation stone him. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God, shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the Name of the Lord, shall be put to death: all the Congregation shall stone him to death: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land: when he blasphemeth the Name of the Lord, let him be slain. He also that lieth any man, he shall be put to death. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it, beast for beast. Also if a man cause any blemish in his neighbor: as he hath done, so shall it be done to him: Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: such a blemish as he hath made in any, such shall be repaid to him. And he that killeth a beast, shall restore it: but he that killeth a man, shall be slain. Ye shall have one law: it shall be as well for the stranger as for one born in the country, for I am the Lord your God. Then Moses told the children of Israel, and they brought the blasphemer out of the host, and stoned him with stones: so the children of Israel did as the Lord had commanded Moses. And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinani, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye shall come into the land which I give you, the land shall keep Sabbath unto the Lord. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt cut thy vineyard, and gather the fruit thereof. But the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land: it shall be the Lord’s Sabbath: thou shalt neither sow thy field nor cut thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest, thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes that thou hast left unlabored: for it shall be a year of rest unto the land. And the rest of the land shall be meat for you, even for thee and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hire servant, and for the stranger that sojourneth with thee: And for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat. Also thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, even seven times seven years: and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years will be unt othee nine and forty years. Then thou shalt cause to blow the trumpet of the Jubilee in the tenth day of the seventh month: even in the day of the reconciliation shall ye make the tumpet blow throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow that year, even the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty in the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be the Jubilee unto you, and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and every man shall return unto his family. This fiftieth year shall be a year of Jubilee unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself, neither gather the grapes thereof that are left unlabored. For it is the Jubilee, it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat of the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this Jubilee, ye shall return every man unto his possession. And when thou sellest ought to thy neighbor, or buyest at thy neighbor’s land, ye shall not oppress one another. But according to the number of years after the Jubilee, thou shalt buy of thy neighbor: also according to the number of the years of the revenues, he shall sell unto thee. According to the multitude of years, thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt abate the price of it: for the number of fruits doth he sell unto thee. Oppress not ye therefore any man his neighbor, but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God. Wherefore ye shall obey mine ordinances, and keep my laws, and do them, and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall give her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year, for we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase? I will send my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the old fruit until the ninth year: until the fruit thereof come ye shall eat the old. Also the land shall not be sold to be cut off from the family: for the land is mine, andye be but strangers and sojourners with me. Therefore in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption of the land. If thy brother be impoverished, and sell his possession, then his redeemer shall come, even his near kinsman, and buy out that, which his brother sold. And if he have no redeemer, but hath gotten and found to buy it out, Then shall he count the years of his sale, and restore the overplus fo the man, to whom he sold it: so shall he return to his possession. But if he cannot get sufficient to restore to him, then that which is sold, shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it, until the year of the Jubilee: an din the Jubilee: it shall come out, and he shall return unto his possession. Likewise if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, he may buy it out again within a whole year after it is sold: within a year may he buy it out. But if it be not bought out within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city, shall be stablished, as cutt off from the family, to him that bought it, throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the Jubilee. But the houses of villages which have no walls round about them, shall be esteemed as the field of the country: they may be bought out again, and shall go out in the Jubilee. Notwithstanding, the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at all seasons. And if a man purchase of the Levites, teh house that was sold, and the city of their possession shall go out in the Jubilee: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. But the field of the suburbs of their cities shall not be sold: for itis their perpetual possession. Moreover, if thy brother be impoverished, and fallen in decay with thee, thou shalt relieve him, and as a stranger and sojourner, so shall he live with thee. Thou shalt take no usury of him, nor vantage, but thou shalt fear thy God, that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money to usury, nor lend him thy vittles for incrase. I am the Lord your God, which have brought you out of th eland of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. If thy brother also that dwelleth by thee be impoverished, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond servant, But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner he shall be with thee: he shall serve thee unto the year of Jubilee. Then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return: For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen are sold. Thou shalt not rule over him cruelly, but shalt fear thy God. Thy bond servant also, and thy bondmaid, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you: of them shall ye buy servants and maids. And moreover, of the children of the strangers that are sojourners among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are iwth you which they begat in your land: these shall be your possession. So ye shall take them, as inheritance for your children after you to poassess them b inheritance, ye shall use their labors forever: but over your brethren the children of Israel ye shall not rule one over another with cruelty. I a sojourner or a strnaer dwelling by thee get riches, and thy brother by him be impoverished, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner dwelling by thee, or to the stock of the stranger’s family, After that he is sold, he may be bought out: one of his brethren may buy him out. Or his uncle, or his uncle’s son may buy him out, or any of the kindred of his flesh among his family, may reeem him: either if he can get so much, he may buy himself out. Then he shall reckon with his buyer from the year that he was sold to him, unto the year of Jubilee: and the money of his sale shall be according to the number of years: according to the time of an hired servant shall he be with him. If there be many years behind, according to them shall he give again for his deliverance, of the money that he was bought for. If there remain but few yars unto the year of Jubilee, then he shall count with him, and according to his years give again for his redemption. He shall be with him year by year as an hired servant: he shall not rule cruelly over him in thy sight. And if he be not reeemed thus, he shall go out in the year of Jubilee, he, and his children with him. For unto me the children of Israel are servants whom I have brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 23–25
- Verily, verily I say unto you, he that entereth not in by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, he is a thief and a robber. But he that goeth in by the door, is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he hath sent forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and teh sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And they will not follow a stranger, but they flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jessu unto them again, Verily, verily i say unto you, I am that door of the sheep. All tha tever came before me, are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am that door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in, and go out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come tha tthey might have life, and have it in abundance. I am that good shepherd: that good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But an hireling, and he which is not the shepherd, neither the sheep are his own, seeth the wolf coming,a nd he leaveth the sheep, and fleeth, and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. So the hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am that good shepherd, and know mine, and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. So the hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am that good shepherd, and know mine, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep. Other sheep I have also, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one sheepfold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and have power to take it again: this commandment have I received of my Fahter. Then there was a dissension again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad: why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil: can the devil open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the Dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the Temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be that Chirst, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father’s Name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not: for ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of mine hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all, and none is able to take them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one, Then the Jews again took stones, to stone him, Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father: for which of these works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, for the good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and that thou being a man, makest thyself god. Jessu answered them, Is it not written in your Law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom teh word of God was given, and the Scripture cannot be broken. Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, Iam the Son of God? If I do not the wors of my Father, belive me not. But if I do, then thou ye believe not me, yet believe the works, that ye may know and believe, that the Father isin me, and I in him. Again they went about to take him: but he escaped out of their hands, And went again beyond Jordan, into the place where John first baptized, and there abode. And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man, were true. And many believed in him there. John 10:1–21
- Set me as a seal on thine heart, and as a signet upon thine arm: for love is strong as death: jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coal thereof are fiery coals, and a vehement flame. Much water cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, they would reatly contemn it. We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a silver palace: and if she be a door, we will keep her in with boards of cedar. Song of Solomon 8:6–9