Sheep desperately need a shepherd, or they will wander off defenseless. They need someone to guide them, protect them, and care for them. Without a shepherd, sheep are absolutely helpless.
Isn’t that just like us? Left on our own, we will always go the wrong way – to the wrong places, to the wrong people, to the wrong things.
We get messages all the time, from the media, from celebrities, from friends and family, about how we should live our lives, about what will make us happy, about what will give our lives meaning. Some of the people who try to guide us are very well meaning, but that doesn’t mean that their guidance is true. Who do we follow?
Jesus told his disciples that he is the shepherd they should follow. He said many people would try to lead his sheep, but only he is the “good” shepherd.
1. The Good Shepherd comes in the expected way
I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. (John 10:1-2)
Jesus said that he, the one and only “Good Shepherd”, came the expected way.
That is, the Old Testament said the Messiah would have certain characteristics. There are dozens of prophesies in the Old Testament about who Jesus would be – and it is a fact that Jesus is the only man in all of history who fulfilled these prophesies. The prophecies said that the Messiah would:
- Be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
- Be the son of God (Psalm 2:7)
- Be descended from Abraham (Gen. 22:18), Isaac (Gen. 21:12), Jacob (Num. 24:17), tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), family of Jesse (Is. 11:1), house of David (Jer. 23:5)
- Be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
- Be Presented with gifts (Psalm 72:10)
- Be God and man (Isaiah 7:14)
- Be preceded by a messenger (Malachi 3:1)
- Teach first in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1)
- Perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5,6)
There are many other examples of these prophesies as well, all of which were fulfilled in Jesus. Only Jesus fulfilled all these prophesies showing that only he is the Christ, the “Good Shepherd,” and not an impostor.
2. The Good Shepherd guides the sheep
The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3-4)
Left to our own devices, we will wander away from the shepherd every chance we get. When we submit to Christ, though, and lean on his understanding, he will guide us in the better way. As David described it, the Good Shepherd “leads me beside quiet waters” and “guides me in paths of righteousness.” (Ps. 23:1-3).
3. The sheep are safe in the Good Shepherd’s hands
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)
Jesus says that once we belong to Him, no one can take us away. That relationship is eternal.
That doesn’t mean that there will be no wolves baying at the perimeter. It does mean that he will protect us and that none of our enemies or predators will be able to destroy our relationship with God.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Ps.23:4)
We need a shepherd, and in Jesus, we have a Good Shepherd. The relationship is tender, loving, and secure. No one can ever snatch us out of his hand.
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