I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11
Looking at a flock of sheep, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between one or the other. A shepherd, however, knows his sheep intimately. He would spend almost every waking moment with them so that they would know his voice and follow him when they needed to. There was a bible scholar, Doctor Adam Smith, that studied the Holy Land and the customs of the people that dwelt there. He was talking with a shepard and discovered that there was no door for where the sheep were being kept at night. He asked how the sheep would stay in if there was no door. Well, the shepherd would sleep in the doorway to keep them in and protect them from unwanted visitors.
The Lord works in the same way for us. Jesus says that He is the door for His sheep and we are saved only through Him (verse 9). He also knows us intimately because He knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). He never sleeps nor slumbers (Psalm 121:4). He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6). Reading this passage in John gives such peace and comfort in my own heart. As we catch glimpses of Jesus’ life and His love for us, everything else just falls into place, doesn’t it?
Think about it. After reading John 10 and those 3 truths quoted in the above paragraph, how do we ever doubt God and His love for us? ( And we’re just barely scratching the surface.) Jesus says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (verse 10)
Everything that is in contrast to Him is found in religion. Religion is filled with works, rules, regulations, and distractions that ultimately keep us away from an intimate relationship with our Shepherd. We can tell when the voices we hear are from religion because it screams guilt, condemnation, and punishment. This will kill and destroy us. This will rob us of a life filled with joy and peace. Jesus came to the world to rid us of those feelings and bridge that gap between humanity and God. He came to give us an abundant life.
With religion, man is trying to reach God. But with Christianity, God is reaching down to man. We have Jesus as our ladder and our Father is forever connected to us because of His sacrifice for His sheep. And as His sheep, no one is able to snatch us out of His hand (verse 28). It’s finished. We are forever His children when we put our faith in Him. We are free.
As we live our lives for God, we are responding to His sacrifice and love for us. I heard a pastor once say, “The choice is ours, but the task is God’s.“ He does all the work through us. All we need to do is listen to His voice and respond. A voice that is filled with peace, compassion, understanding, and love. A voice that will never lead you down a path alone.
Let the Shepherd lead you this week. Maybe He is calling you to lie down in green pastures and leading you beside quiet waters (Psalm 23:2). Maybe He is calling you to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Whatever it may be, know that you can trust the voice of the Good Shepherd.
be free. xoxo