Jesus speaks of a flock of sheep protected in a sheepfold, warning against thieves who might get in and steal sheep and He likens himself to the shepherd who constitutes a door stopping thieves entering and sheep escaping, saying ‘I am the door’ to the sheepfold. When we enter through Jesus into the protection of the sheepfold, we enter into the abundant life that Jesus offers.
Universally, darkness is often metaphor for evil, feeling lost, and uncertainty. Light is a metaphor for hope, direction, certainty. Not surprisingly, Jesus the master communicator, often used such picture words in his teaching. By declaring that He is the Light of the world, Jesus is declaring that He is greater than any darkness we might face.
Bread is a universal food and is needed for life. Jesus used bread to point to the fact that ultimately He Himself is the true bread for us. We can often allow so many other things to take the place of Jesus, but He said that He is the Bread of Life. This declaration reminds us that Jesus is the only one who can satisfy the deepest cravings of our hearts.
Throughout the Gospel according to John, Jesus reveals information about Himself that let’s us know who He truly is. By getting to know His words, we get more than observational knowledge about Jesus, we get to know His heart and His desire to have an intimate relationship with His creation.
For many, hope is just disappointment waiting to happen but that is not the case for those who follow Jesus. His birth and His life give us the freedom to hope and live in confident expectation of the future despite what the past and present might indicate. When Jesus is in the picture, hope means that you understand your present situation is not your conclusion.
Jesus came to bridge the divide that kept humans alienated from their Heavenly Father and to remove the fear of religious performance. Jesus reveals that the love God has for His children is not earned by our religious performance, nor is it lost through our failures, rather it is ours when we draw near in repentance.
As a society, some of our highest ethics and goals are safety and security. We go to great lengths to mitigate risk and danger, and rightly so. We were not created to live with the constant stress that danger brings yet we live in an anxiety-laden world. Jesus the Prince of Peace invites us experience peace in the midst of our storms.
For many people, the holiday season only amplifies the weariness of the world and the fear it brings. We're weary of fighting, of divisive politics, of business as usual, of waiting, of disappointment, of heartache, sorrow, sickness and poverty. The good news is that Christmas is more than a season or an event, it’s a person – it’s Jesus and He came to reveal a better way to live.
The story of Ruth ends in hope and redemption. What started off as a seemingly hopeless situation is now full of expectation. Throughout the story we see that God weaves the obedient actions of His people to bring about his redemptive purposes in His world. Our seemingly mundane, ordinary actions done in obedience to God can be used for His greater purpose.
Ruth has made a commitment and is determined to follow the God of Israel and takes a bold step of faith. Faithful obedience is required of us if we want to see God’s blessings in our lives. God uses his integrity and faithfulness and Ruth’s action and boldness to bring healing and restoration to Naomi and to give Ruth a future.