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|Posted on May 1, 2016 at 9:30 PM||comments (0)|
I Am the Good Shepherd
John 10:1 (ESV) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
The Pharisees were robbers. They chained the people to the Law rather than helping them to see that Jesus was the Messiah that would bring freedom. They fattened themselves while starving the people. If you want the backstory for these ideas read the entire thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel. We have included the first four verses here:
Ezekiel 34:1-4 (ESV) The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.
False teachers are not true shepherds. They try to steal the sheep to follow them and stroke their own egos rather than to follow and bring glory to the Lord.
John 10:2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
The gatekeeper only opens the gate for shepherds who have sheep in the pen he is guarding. The shepherd has a relationship with his particular sheep. They recognize his voice. The shepherd has names for his sheep. Our Shepherd knows my name and your name if you are one of His sheep. Even though we are the body of Christ collectively, we are each individually His as well. The sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd and the special name he has for each one of them. This goes back to our being predestined, chosen by God, to be His sheep, those who are His children and heirs, who follow Him. Those of us who are His sheep will recognize His voice when He calls us out of all the sheep in the world. When He calls us out of the darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), we will recognize our Shepherd’s voice and follow Him.
Ezekiel 34:11 & 13a (ESV) “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out…And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land.
The prophet Ezekiel spoke partially about God regathering the Jews into Israel again. However, it also applies to the fact that our Shepherd WILL find us and bring us into His flock whether we are Jews or Gentiles. We will know His voice when He calls us out of the world and into His fold.
John 10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
When the Shepherd has called His flock out from among the masses, He does not leave them to find pasture for themselves. He leads them. They follow the sound of His voice in order to stay on the correct path and not wander off into danger. The Good Shepherd will enable us to stay on the path of divine purpose by the power of His Holy Spirit within us and the word He has preserved for us over the centuries, the Bible.
John 10:5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
The sheep will not follow just any old shepherd (or thief). A sheep, or in this analogy believers, will not follow anyone but the one who has rescued them, the Shepherd, the Protector, Jesus. The shepherd has trained his sheep to know him, and our Shepherd places the ability in us to discern His voice from the many noisy voices trying to lure us away. This harks back to the fact that we have an intimate relationship with our Shepherd. The shepherd does not just corral the sheep, put them in a pen, and walk away. The sheep mean everything to the shepherd. The shepherd would give his life for the sheep.
John 10:6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
The people heard this analogy, but did not understand that Jesus is the Shepherd. They were thinking, “Why is he telling us this story about sheep?” They did not understand Jesus’ role as nurturer and protector.
John 10:7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
All who came before Jesus claiming to be the Messiah were imposters. The sheep the Lord had chosen did not follow these pretenders. Jesus made another “I AM” statement when He described Himself as the door. The only way to be saved is to enter in by the Door, Jesus Christ. He is the only way to the Father which we will cover even more in John chapter 14. Also, some sheepfolds, especially out in the pasture area, had no gate. The shepherd would lie across the entrance when he slept as the barrier between predators, animal or human, and his sheep. Jesus is the barrier between His sheep and the sinful world that would try to lure them out to destroy them. He is the door through which we enter, and is the door that keeps us safely inside His fold.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Satan’s agenda is to destroy people, but Jesus’ purpose is to make them passionately fulfilled. The shepherd makes sure his sheep find excellent pasture and clean drinking water and protects them from all who would harm them. Jesus is the Shepherd, the Door, the Bread of Life, and the Living Water. He provides all that His people need. Jesus is the force that sustains life!
Hebrews 1:3a (NIV) The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Q – Is the gospel of Jesus Christ making sense to you for the first time? Perhaps the Shepherd is calling you out from the world to be a part of His flock. If you believe you are hearing His voice, surrender your life to Him, trust Him to be the Door to eternal life with the Father, and enter into the familyship of God.