Summary: The Good shepherd calls, but who is listening? The good shepherd leads, but who is following? The Conclusion.
Dakota Community Church
May 31, 2009
The Good Shepherd 2
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?"
But others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
To fully understand this reaction we need to explore a couple of things:
The historic conflict between God and the leaders (shepherds) of His people.
The context in which Jesus is speaking these things.
Matthew 9:35-36 (Jesus acknowledges the bad shepherding)
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
The people of God are not supposed to be harassed and helpless.
To get the immediate context we need to go back and read the events which precede this little talk about the good shepherd and how he differs from the hired hands.
34To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.
35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
1. The good shepherd speaks.
…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.
…I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
So Jesus makes it pretty clear here that He is speaking to all the sheep throughout time; not just to the ones sitting there in front of him.
Practice helps us distinguish between voices.
Listening does require some effort.
The first and most important thing we hear Him say is “repent and believe the good news!”
2. The good shepherd leads.
…he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
The good shepherd leads his sheep. He has gone on ahead of us to that ultimate good pasture, he is preparing a place for us there but, he leads us here and now in this life as well.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
There is no shadow of death to pass through in heaven, no enemies to prepare a table before.
If the good shepherd does these things… why do we so often seem to be without them?
20May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.