May 18

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In the tenth chapter of John, we are taught the allegory between us and the Lord, with the sheep and the shepherd. It may be humbling to be compared to sheep, but the accuracy is there. In the animal world, no creature is more helpless or needs more leading or guidance for everything they do than do the sheep. No animal strays more easily, none is more heedless and none so incapable of finding its way back when lost. No creature is more defenseless and exposed to be devoured by beasts than are the sheep. This is how the sheep are in man’s sight, and it is how Christians are in the sight of God.
In the third and fourth verse of John chapter ten we see that the sheep (that is, the sheep of the East) know and can recognize the voice of the shepherd, and upon hearing the voice, they follow him. The lesson is obvious. Faithful disciples will hear (listen, understand and heed) his voice; they will not listen to strangers (false teachers). The voice of Jesus is heard through His Word which has been revealed to us by inspired men (Heb. 1:1,2; 2:1-4).
Verse nine teaches that it is through the means of the shepherd (Jesus) that the sheep (Christians) are saved and are nourished. Jesus came to save men from their sins (Matt. 1:21) and to seek and save the lost (Luke. 19:10), and it is only through Jesus that we may be saved (Acts 4:12). Then, after becoming saved, we are kept saved through the nourishment He provides, which is the Bible (I Tim. 4:6). It is through Him that allows us to hear the peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:7) which allows us to lay calmly in green pastures (Psa. 23:2).
“The good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep” (verse 11). Shepherds of Palestine were not infrequently subjected to grave dangers, some losing their lives. David tells how he killed a lion and a bear while defending his father’s flock. Similarly, Jesus gave His life on the cross. It was either Him or the sheep (John 15:13; I John 3:16). “The son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).
In verse 16, there is revealed the plain but often overlooked fact that there is but one shepherd and one flock. Nobody who makes claim to Christianity has any problem in understanding that “one shepherd” means one Lord. Yet, their consistency “flies out the window” when they attempt to make many flocks out of one body!
For those sheep who are hearing and are following (Rev. 14:4, reveals that it is those who follow–not forsake–Jesus even unto death), to them He gives eternal life(verse 27,28). What a blessed assurance! As long as we remain faithful we have the guarantee of a crown of life (Rev. 2:10). No outside force, including Satan, can overcome and forcefully take us out of God’s hand (John. 10:29).
Let us be thankful to God for the allegory of the Sheep and the Shepherd whereby we can come to better understand our relation to our Lord.

Gary Henson

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