Passage: John 10:11-16

Frequently in the Bible, human beings are compared to sheep. For some, that really sounds nice. They see it as a compliment, as something that’s comforting to hear.

It is quite interesting, though, that not one nation has the sheep for a national symbol. There’s lion, leopard, bear, eagle, tiger, fox, among others, but never a sheep.

Even in university symbols, which are prominent in the UAAP – FEU Tamaraws, Ateneo Blue Eagles, Adamson Falcons, National University Bulldogs, UST Tigers… I don’t think any university would ever like to use sheep as their symbol. Why?

Philip Keller says in his book, “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm,” that sheep require more attention than any other livestock. They just can’t take care of themselves. They are near sighted & very stubborn animals. They are fearful, feeble creatures. Their only recourse when confronted with danger is to run with no direction. Sheep have no homing instincts. A dog, horse, cat, or a bird can find its way home, but when a sheep roams, it gets lost unless someone rescues it.

Matthew 9:36 narrates that Jesus looked out on the people with compassion, because they were “like sheep without a shepherd.” That’s not a compliment, but a portrayal of concern. The only good news of being referred to as sheep is that we have a Good Shepherd.

Let us highlight some of the relevance and implications when we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd of the Sheep:

Trust the heart of the Good Shepherd

John 10:11-13 means that God is totally devoted to you. He will never abandon you like a hireling, as mentioned in vv. 12-13. The Good Shepherd is willing to sacrifice everything, even his own life for our sake.

There’s this Christian drama that depicts a little boy working at his parents’ carpentry shop in Jerusalem. His assignment is to assist in building a cross. The parents insist that he help because Rome has given them a contract for the construction of crosses. Here’s how one of the scenes go:

The boy enters, weeping. “What is wrong?” his parents ask. He responds, “I went to the marketplace & I saw Jesus of Nazareth, the Man we love to hear speak, & He was carrying OUR cross! They took Him to Golgotha & nailed Him to MY cross.”

The parents insist, “Oh no, son, that wasn’t our cross. Other people in Jerusalem build crosses. That wasn’t our cross.”

“Oh yes, it was! When you weren’t looking, I carved my name on the cross that we were making. When Jesus was carrying His cross, He stumbled right beside me, & I looked, & my name was on His cross!”

You see, my name was on that cross, too. So was yours. He died in our place. He went to the cross to restore our souls. Let us trust the heart of the Good Shepherd.

Listen to the voice of the Shepherd

Jesus Christ is not a silent shepherd. He calls us each by name – verse 3. The most powerful of all sounds in our ears is the sound of our own name. He knows who we are, what we need, and the person we are coming to be. He knows us, and invites us to know Him. He wants us to listen to His voice. Even the voice of Jesus goes unheard, unless we listen.

True listening leaves us open to be touched by his love and his compassion. True listening makes us willing to be changed by the message of truth that we hear. It means obedience. God declares in Isaiah 55:11: “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

The world we live in is getting very noisy. We may even become so accustomed to noise that we do not easily recognize God’s voice. But the Shepherd never ceases to speak to us. Most of the time, we do the talking in prayer. There is no intimacy in a conversation when only one is speaking. Let us practice listening to the shepherd. Develop that discipline of silence and solitude, and just listening to Him.

Claim the promises of the Shepherd

The term “other sheep” in verse 16 is referred to the Gentiles in most Commentaries. We, being part of the Gentiles, are also entitled to claim the promises of the Good Shepherd.

The following are practical benefits of the truth, “the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not be in want”
(Psalms 23:1-6):
The Lord is my stress reliever who makes me lie down in green pastures – v.2
The Lord is my peace for he leads me beside quiet waters – v.2
The Lord is my charger who restores my soul’s power and strength when I’m exhausted – v.3
The Lord is my sanctifier who cleanses me from sin and guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake – v.3
The Lord is my protector who shields me from all forms of evil and danger – v.4
The Lord is my master who anoints me with dignity, honor and purpose – v.5
The Lord is my faithful friend assuring me His goodness and mercy all the days of my life – v.6
The Lord is my destiny and I will be with him forever – v.6

Search the world and you will realize that the most blessed people you will ever know are those who claim and enjoy the promises of the Shepherd.

The greatest blessing is knowing our Shepherd… The greatest achievement is following the guidance of the Shepherd… The greatest decision that you will ever make as a believer is to allow Jesus Christ to be the Shepherd of your life.

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