Summary: 1) The Voice of the True Shepherd (John 10:1-6) 2) Following the Voice through the Only Door to the Fold (John 10:7–10)
John 10:1-10. "Follow God’s Voice"
Everton Community Church. Sunday October 17, 2010.
This week saw two radically different outcomes from mine disasters. In Copiapo Chile, 33 miners began their first weekend above ground since a rescue that gripped the world, of their 69-day ordeal trapped deep in the earth. (http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Rescued+miners+nightmare+experience/3682562/story.html#ixzz12Wqrf98D)
Twenty Chinese miners have been killed and another 17 are missing after an accident underground in the central Chinese province of Henan Saturday. Although the Chinese Government promises to do everything it can to rescue the miners, their care for them is almost non-existent. Although they promise many things they do not deliver.
For the people of Israel, the care they received vacillated from empty promises to tender compassion. The most tender picture of a leadership that cared was that of a shepherd. Throughout Israel’s history, shepherding had always been a familiar part of everyday agrarian life. And the people all knew that sheep are the most helpless, defenseless, straying, and dirty of animals. They require constant oversight, leading, rescue, and cleaning or they will die. Being a shepherd was good training for leading people. In fact, the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been shepherds (Gen. 13:1–11; 26:12–14; 46:32; 47:3), as were Israel’s greatest leaders: Moses (Ex. 3:1) and David (1 Sam. 16:11; 17:28, 34; 2 Sam. 7:8). It is not surprising, then, that the Old Testament writers frequently used shepherding imagery, depicting Israel as God’s flock (Pss. 74:1; 77:20; 78:52; 79:13; 80:1; 95:7; 100:3; Ezek. 34:12–16), God as her Shepherd (Gen. 48:15; 49:24; Pss. 23:1; 28:9; 80:1; Isa. 40:11; Jer. 23:3; Ezek. 34:11–12; Mic. 7:14), and her leaders as God’s undershepherds (Num. 27:16–17; 2 Sam. 5:2; 1 Chron. 17:6; Ps. 78:70–72; Jer. 3:15; 23:4). The New Testament writers also used that same familiar terminology to describe the church (Acts 20:28–29; 1 Peter 5:2–3).
But while the metaphor of a shepherd suggests tender care, it can also depict harsh, abusive, autocratic rule. The Bible refers to false spiritual leaders, as well as true ones, as shepherds. It is important to distinguish the voices. In verses 1–10 Jesus contrasted Himself with Israel’s false shepherds and calls us to follow God’s voice in recognizing: 1) The Voice of the True Shepherd (John 10:1-6), 2) Following the Voice through the Only Door to the Fold (John 10:7–10)
1) The Voice of the True Shepherd (John 10:1-6)
John 10:1-6 [10:1]"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. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. (ESV)