I was reading in the the tenth chapter of John’s gospel today and I slowed myself down and read and reread this familiar passage. Throughout the world where Christianity is practiced the relationship of the Shepherd and the sheep is well documented. Yet, reading it today I was impressed by several statements from John’s gospel:
- The Shepherd enters through the gate. John 10:2 say that this is a distinguishing characteristic. What is so important about coming in through the gate? The true shepherd comes in through the correct way, while hirelings and false shepherds desire to come in through shortcuts and in ways that are not legitimate.
- The sheep listen to his voice. Many call themselves followers of Christ, yet Jesus says His sheep listen to His voice! (John 10:3) Following the Shepherd is not a part time job. It is a fulltime commitment that also involves listening to and for His voice. Oftentimes He speaks in a quiet voice therefore I must get alone and slow down and listen, really listen for His voice.
- He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out (John 10:3) He calls me by name. I have many things that I am or have been called, some today call me Dr., Pastor, District Superintendent and so on. Jesus has never called me by any of these titles, he always calls me by my name. In a world where you may feel at times invisible and that no one knows you, you can take comfort from the fact that the Shepherd knows you and He knows your name.
- He goes on ahead of His sheep. “He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:4) A Shepherd leads. He does not drive the sheep! We need to be lead and we need a leader who knows and love us and is interested in what is best for us.
- The Good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep. Jesus said this in John 10:11. Jesus was not just a good teacher or prophet; He is the Savior. He did not just give us an example; He became our sin offering that we might be set free!
You may need a lot of things today, but in the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel you will discover there are two things that we all need: A Savior and a Shepherd. Jesus is both.