Summary: •All people can receive the spiritual leadership and protection of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. •Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, offers us leadership, an abundant life, and protection
Who Is This Jesus?
10. He is the Good Shepherd
November 13/14, 2004
- welcome guests
- Coupeville outreach next Saturday.
- Thank God for veterans.
- Prayer for Senegal TREK team.
• All people can receive the spiritual leadership and protection of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
• Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, offers us leadership (v. 4), an abundant life (v. 10), and protection (v. 7, 11-15,
*Ask the children in the congregation: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
Why is it that no one ever says they want to be a sheep? It is never a mascot of a sports team. But from the Christian perspective, it is often seen as a romantic or complimentary thought to who we are.
I. Attributes of sheep-nothing romantic or complimentary about sheep
1. Stupid and stubborn-ever seen a trained sheep?At the circus, come see the dancing elephants, funny monkeys and trained sheep? They are simplehearted
2. Dirty and Wayward-NOT THE SERTA SHEEP WE SEE ON TV. They easily wander and never learn from their mistakes
3. Easily frightened and confused-known to plunge off cliffs in their fear and confusion
4. Defenseless and dependant.
5. Need guidance and protection.
6. May not be complimentary to be a sheep (we are sinful, obstinate, rebellious and foolish), but it is comforting to know we have a good shepherd.
And that’s what this week’s message is all about. As we continue our journey through the Gospel of John, we’ve arrived at John Chapter 10. And in this chapter we’ll learn that Jesus calls himself our Good Shepherd. As we study these verses together we’ll learn exactly what that means – that he offers us leadership, an abundant life, and protection from the evil one.
Let’s turn to John 10…
1"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. 2The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice." 6Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Let me try and give you a mental picture of what Jesus is describing here, as he talks about a “sheep pen”.
It was usually a rough stone or mud-brick structure, only partially roofed, or a cave in the hills. It had a single opening through which the sheep passed when they came in for the night. The pen served to protect them against thieves, robbers, and wild beasts.
A pen frequently held several flocks; and when the time came to go out in the morning pasture, each shepherd separated his sheep from the others by his peculiar call. Instead of driving them, he led them so that they followed him as a unit. Wherever they went, the shepherd preceded them, guiding them to adequate pasture and guarding against possible danger. The sheep refused to follow a stranger because his voice was unfamiliar. In fact, if a stranger should use the shepherd’s call and imitate his tone, the flock would instantly detect the difference and would scatter in panic. (NIV Commentary)
What do we learn about the Good Shepherd from these verses?
Since He’s the Good Shepherd, I can trust him to provide the leadership I need for my life.
He doesn’t prod me forward or make me go somewhere He’s not willing to go. He goes ahead of me. And you know what that means? It means when I can’t see what’s ahead – I can trust that if the Lord is leading me that way I can trust him – He can see what’s ahead because he’s already there! And he can see what’s coming up and he can help me avoid dangerous places on the path.
It means when he’s going ahead of me he’s leading me to pasture – that place where my soul is going to be fed so I’ll be spiritually healthy.
It means I don’t have to fear that my life is going the wrong direction. I listen for his direction (through prayer and through abiding in His word) and I can follow with confidence that I’m not going to head off a cliff!
Jesus goes ahead of us and calls us forward. As we’ve already learned in John he calls us forward and says come to him for drink. Come to him for the bread of life. As he says in Matthew, come unto him if you’re burdened and he will give you rest.