Summary: When we look at ourselves as humans, we are much like sheep. We often hear negatives about sheep; how they are dumb and helpless animals...Kind of like us.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Jesus Claims to Be the Son of God
22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. 23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
We often hear negatives about sheep; how they are dumb and helpless animals...Kind of like us.
>Here are four examples:
1-Sheep cannot clean themselves. The same with us – We’re unable to clean ourselves from the filthiness of sin. We need Jesus!
2-Sheep cannot defend themselves from predators. The same with us – We can’t defend ourselves from Satan without the Shepherd. We need Jesus!
3-Sheep cannot find food and water for themselves, but depend upon the shepherd for water and food.
The same with us – We depend on the Good Shepherd for daily bread & living water. We need Jesus!
4-Sheep are prone to wander & stray. The same with us – “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” (Isaiah 53:6)
Hymn: Come Thou Fount – Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.
A sheep strays when its head is down grazing; it fails to keep its eye on the shepherd. When we keep our heads down and graze on the world, we wander & stray. We need Jesus!
>Let’s consider some truths about sheep behavior. Behavior can be defined as an animal's response to its environment. A little knowledge of sheep behavior will help us understand our relationship with the Great Shepherd. It may even help us to learn how we can be better sheep. Here are some traits we could learn from sheep to grow in our faith.
1-Sheep exhibit a flocking behavior. Sheep are known for their strong flocking instinct; they flee from danger & band together in groups. It’s their strongest protection from predators – Safety in numbers. “A person alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
2-Sheep are social animals. – They exhibit less stress when they are with other sheep. Sheep are very social animals. In a grazing situation, they need to see other sheep. A sheep will become highly agitated and stressed if it is separated from the rest of the flock.
3-Sheep exhibit sharpness in each of the 5 senses to ensure their survival:
>Sight – Sheep depend heavily upon its vision. The eye is placed more to the side of the head, which gives sheep a much wider field of vision. With only slight head movement, sheep are able to scan their surroundings. They tend to avoid shadows and are reluctant to go where they can't see. As sheep in the Good Shepherd’s fold, we must walk in the light!
>Hearing – Sheep have excellent hearing. They can amplify and pinpoint sound with their ears & are frightened by sudden loud noises. When alerted by a loud noises and unnatural sounds, sheep release a stress-related hormone. This causes panic and they become nervous, which makes them hard to handle and calm down. To settle the sheep, the shepherd must speak in a quiet, calm voice...Just a God calmed Elijah. “The Lord spoke in a still small voice...the sound of a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12) As sheep in the Good Shepherd’s fold, we must listen for His voice!