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John 10 – Jesus the Good Shepherd & Omar Khayyam

Finger Pointing UpTomorrow we’ll look at the last subject of the House of Islam, which is…

John 10
Jesus the Good Shepherd

1 The Mausoleum of Omar
The Mausoleum of Omar Khayyam is the tomb of Omar Khayyám located in Nishapur where Omar Khayyám was born and buried and where his mausoleum today remains a masterpiece of Iranian architecture visited by many people every year. It was completed in 1963.

1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

“Sheepfold” – a court surrounded by walls but open to the sky, and with only one entrance.  The walls kept the sheep from wandering and no doubt protected them from certain wild animals.

2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

2 As a mathematician
As a mathematician, Khayyám has made fundamental contributions to the philosophy of mathematics especially in the context of Persian Mathematics and Persian philosophy with which most of the other Persian scientists and philosophers such as Avicenna, Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī and Tusi are associated. There are at least three basic mathematical ideas of strong philosophical dimensions that can be associated with Khayyám.

Mathematical order: From where does this order issue, and why does it correspond to the world of nature? His answer is in one of his philosophical “treatises on being”. Khayyám’s answer is that “the Divine Origin of all existence not only emanates wujud “being”, by virtue of which all things gain reality, but It is the source of order that is inseparable from the very act of existence.”

The significance of axioms in geometry and the necessity for the mathematician to rely upon philosophy and hence the importance of the relation of any particular science to prime philosophy. This is the philosophical background to Khayyám’s total rejection of any attempt to “prove” the parallel postulate, and in turn his refusal to bring motion into the attempt to prove this postulate, as had Ibn al-Haytham, because Khayyám associated motion with the world of matter, and wanted to keep it away from the purely intelligible and immaterial world of geometry.

Clear distinction made by Khayyám, on the basis of the work of earlier Persian philosophers such as Avicenna, between natural bodies and mathematical bodies. The first is defined as a body that is in the category of substance and that stands by itself, and hence a subject of natural sciences, while the second, called “volume”, is of the category of accidents (attributes) that do not subsist by themselves in the external world and hence is the concern of mathematics.

Khayyám was very careful to respect the boundaries of each discipline, and criticized ibn al-Haytham in his proof of the parallel postulate precisely because he had broken this rule and had brought a subject belonging to natural philosophy, that is, motion, which belongs to natural bodies, into the domain of geometry, which deals with mathematical bodies.

13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

10:17-18 – that Christ would die for His people runs through this section of John’s Gospel.  Both the love and the plan of the Father are involved, as well as the authority He gave to the Son.  Christ obediently chose to die; otherwise no one would have had the power to kill him.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.

20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?

21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

“Feast of the dedication” – the commemoration of the dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabus in December, 165 B.C., after it had been profaned by Antiochus Epiphanres.

This was the last great deliverance the Jews had experienced.  This is what modern Jews celebrate at Hanukah.  It’s origination antedates Christmas.

23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

“Solomon’s porch” – it was a roofed structure – somewhat similar to a Greek stoa – commonly but erroneously thought to date back to Solomon’s time.

24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

3 Jesus is THE
Jesus is THE Good Shepherd. He tells us that explicitly in the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11.

But the decisive question is: Is he MY Good Shepherd?

To call Jesus THE Good Shepherd says something objective about Jesus and his identity. To say that Jesus is MY Good Shepherd is to say something about MY personal relationship with him.

Jesus is THE Good Shepherd whether I follow him or not; however he’s only MY Good Shepherd if I make the personal decision to live as his disciple.

And to be a true member of Jesus’ flock I must have the intention of being obedient to him in ALL things. There’s an old saying that some of our Protestant brothers and sisters use, and there’s a lot of truth in it: If Jesus isn’t Lord of all (in other words of all in my life), then he’s not Lord at all.

So I ask you today, is Jesus Christ YOUR Lord—YOUR Good Shepherd?

30 I and my Father are one.

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,

40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.

41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.

42 And many believed on him there.

Omar Khayyam

Known now mainly for his poetry, translated as The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Persian scientist Ghiyath al-Din Abu al-Fath ’Umar ibn Ibrahim al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami (1048-1131) was famous in his own time as a mathematician and astronomer.

4 Ghiyāth ad Dīn
Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Abu’l-Fatḥ ʿUmar ibn Ibrāhīm al-Khayyām Nīshāpūrī (18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131) was a Persian polymath, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, and Islamic theology.

In his 20s, Khayyam had already written a groundbreaking work on mathematics, “Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra,” which discusses the solution to cubic equations by means of intersecting conic sections.

Not until many years after his death did Khayyam’s quatrains (robaiyat) come to light, and some scholars still question whether he was the author.

In 1859, the English writer Edward FitzGerald published his translation of the verses, which contemplate the fleeting nature of life:

The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

…Saladin.

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