Wednesday 17 April 2024

 John 10      v 11/18

There is no more loved image than the picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd; this is woven into the imagery of the Bible.

In the Old Testament, the leaders of the people were called shepherd, and God was seen as the great Shepherd

  In the  New Testament, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, for He sees the people like sheep without any other shepherd. This one of the ‘I am’ sayings, and brings to mind David, who literally laid down his life for his sheep, but Jesus gave his life on the Cross for his sheep.

 We accept sheep as providing food and clothing, but in Palestine they were seen as not only providing wool, but also seen as rather like pets, and were kept alive, and some shepherds gave them names.   In the evenings, the shepherds  would lead their flocks to a sheepfold, which was central pen with a door, where several families kept their sheep, which would be watched over by a gatekeeper, who would be hired, and he would lock the door and stand guard. Some shepherds would watch themselves. Any other person entering would be considered a thief, or a robber who would use violence.

 The hired hand, not being the owner of sheep, would leave the sheep if a wolf appeared which would scatter the sheep and snatch them.

 The next day the sheep would be collected. Each sheep would know its own shepherd and would only go with him. Jesus states the sheep who truly know and believe in God, hear his voice and they know his voice.

 Some sheep were left roaming, and they would be gathered into an open field surrounded by walls, where the sheep could go in and pass out, and someone hired would lie across the opening so the sheep would have to pass him.

 Jesus said he had sheep not of this fold and would bring them into this fold so all would be in one flock with one shepherd. He was referring to Gentiles, and they would be united with Jews in one Messianic community

In the last two verses, Jesus is telling he saw his own life as an act of obedience to God, who had given him a task to do, and he was going to do that to the end, even to death. He always blended glory and the Cross together. He knew he would die and raise again.     

 I know this is totally unacceptable to an increasing number of people these days, but this is what the Bible states, so we should be prepared to accept Jesus’ words.  The whole purpose of His life was to lead people to God, and made that possible by giving His life to do so.  The only way into any enclosure is through a door, and Jesus is the only way to heaven.

 Jesus claimed to be the Good Shepherd, and as a good shepherd knew his sheep by name, Jesus knows us by name.  Every time Jesus called someone in the Bible, he did so by naming them.  He was constantly teaching in His lifetime, and we would do well to listen and act upon His words.  All who have accepted Jesus as their Lord, will have Him in their life, to be a guard and a helper who will care for them.

 Of course, there are now so many people who feel they can control their own destiny, fully able to stand on their own two feet, but they will take insurance out to provide cover for life after death.  They will wait years for these policies to mature, but Jesus is offering maturity for eternity with immediate effect.

 We all need security for peace of mind.  I have met people whose homes were burgled, and were not covered because they just didn’t get round to getting insurance.  Despite the massaging of figures by the police and government, crime is still rampant.  If someone breaks in to your house and ties you up, it is more likely the burglar will be stronger and more ruthless than you.  In theory, you will send for the police, and again in theory they will come and assist you.  (In practice these days it is more likely they will find some excuse not to attend)  When you accept Christ, you have the assurance of His help.

 These verses show us the reason Jesus came into our world. He came that we might have life in abundance.  The world has a totally false idea, to be a teacher of morality or to create new ceremonies, his life was only for thirty=three years. He came to die on a Cross to enable us all to  be forgiven of any sins we may have committed, and to enable us to have eternal life, He brought spiritual life for all people. Moses came with rules, law, and ceremonies, Christ came with grace, truth, and eternal life. Life and immortality were fully were made clear by the gospel.

 Jesus said I am the good shepherd, and like a good shepherd, knows all his true believing flock, and cares tenderly for all believing people. He provides for all their needs in the wilderness of this world. He will guard and protect them from enemies.

 Like a good shepherd he laid down his life for his sheep. Hw did it for all time when he  was crucified for them. Christ died of his own voluntary will. He said he had the power to do so, and to be raised again. Hi enemies may have cried he had no choice, nothing could be more wrong, but they are still showing their ignorance and stupidity.

 Let us lay our souls on these mighty truths, and be thankful a loving Saviour came specially to bring life into the world and if we listen for his voice, repent and believe, he is our own

 Jesus said  ‘follow me and you will find pasture and contentment whatever the circumstances.  We can trust His word.



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