Summary: As Good Shepherd, Jesus seeks our good. He does not act like the predators (Thieves and Robbers) who want to profit off of their followers. He leads us where we need to go.
1. The Camden, Maine, Herald ran 2 photos on the same page: one was a picture of Camden’s city council and city manager; the other was of a flock of sheep. Enter Murphy’s Law. As fate and humor would have it, the captions were accidentally reversed. So, under the picture of the sheep, the caption identified them left to right, as all the town officials; under the photo of the town fathers sitting around a table the caption said, “The Sheep Fold - naive and vulnerable, they huddle for security against the uncertainties of the outside world.”
2. People in the days of Yeshua (Jesus) were familiar with sheep. They also knew that a “shepherd” was generally a LOW position on the pecking order; yet Yeshua (Jesus) identifies himself as a shepherd – the GOOD one.
a. Shepherds honored him at his birth
b. David was a shepherd – as youngest son of Jesse
3. Let’s check and see how much WE know about sheep (from the sermon, “A Shepherd worth following” by Sherm Nichols):
If sheep aren’t directed to suitable pasture and water, what do they do?
A. Order Domino’s
B. Look it up on Google Earth
C. Send around a petition to be given to their shepherd
D. Starve to death
Which best describes the intelligence of domesticated sheep?
A. Top of the food chain
B. MENSA material
C. Sly as a fox
D. Mutton heads
How do sheep keep cool in the hot summer months?
A. They visit a Bah Bah shop
B. They wear lighter clothing and drink lemonade
C. They roll down the car window
D. They count on their shepherd to shear them at the right time
If a sheep gets separated from its flock, it…
A. Stops and asks for directions (unless it’s a ram)
B. Finds a wolf, kills it, and eats it
C. Opens its own show in Branson
D. Most likely will die from predators or exposure
Which of the following situations poses a great threat to someone hiking in sheep country?
A. Being trampled by a flock of sheep
B. Being bitten by an angry sheep
C. Being gored to death by a sheep
D. Having to wear itchy wool socks
4. Yeshua (Jesus) declares himself to be “Good Shepherd” (Not thief or robber) in John 10.11-18
a. Valuable; virtuous; genuine; worthy; honest
b. To understand the “good” we need to compare the “bad”
I. The Danger of Destructive Shepherds
A. The Significance of the “Bad” Shepherds – (i.e., thieves and robbers)
The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. Ezekiel 34.1-6
1. Takes no responsibility for the well-being of the sheep
2. Live off of the sheep – literally [Imagine a shepherd eating his sheep; purpose of sheep – some food but primarily WOOL – no sheep, no wool; only temporary filled stomachs
3. Imagine a willingness to sacrifice sheep to predators – [“O well, the lion got fluffy . . .”
P.T. Barnum, the showman, used to enjoy showing an exhibit he called “The Happy Family” There were lions, tigers, and panthers all squatted around a lamb, not one of them touching it. Barnum’s press agent, Dexter Fellows, wrote about a minister who asked Barnum if the exhibit ever had any trouble. Barnum said: “Apart from replenishing the lamb now and then, they get along very well together.”
4. Same was true of some religious leaders of the first century – Sadducees had sold out to Rome for their wealth and power
5. They were even willing to sacrifice one of their lambs (Yeshua-Jesus)
B. The Solution of the God-Shepherd – Rescue the Sheep
11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. Ezekiel 34.11-16