Shepherd

Sometimes the crowds of people around Him reminded Jesus of sheep.
Their leaders seemed to drive them from place to place never giving them time to think for themselves. He remembered the words of the psalms:

“We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
And
“The Lord is my shepherd…”

If they were sheep, they were an unruly flock, seemingly unable to detect the voice of their True Shepherd.

In the City Streets
Jesus watched the young man and His family retreat into their home. He also observed the exit of the spies of the Pharisees as they tried to steal away unnoticed to give their report to their superiors. As Jesus and His men resumed their walk back toward the Temple, the public discourse following the healing of the blind young man continued in the streets of Jerusalem. As they walked along, Jesus began to develop the shepherd-and-sheep metaphor.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door,
but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”

He was speaking about the godly order of leadership established in the Covenant with Jehovah. The current conditions were these: corrupt shepherds often deceived the sheep, leading them astray from the plan of God. Instead of shepherds, they were thieves and robbers.

“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice;
and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”

The same God who made the sheep, made the door—the Word of God—and it was through this door the shepherd and sheep could safely pass. This relationship was facilitated by the recognition of the voice of the Shepherd. Other voices frightened and scattered the sheep. With this commanding, loving voice, the Shepherd led the sheep toward safety and provision and away from danger.

They didn’t get it.
Pleased with this excellent illustration, Jesus searched the faces of the Twelve for signs of agreement. He found confusion instead. They were unable to make the leap from illustration to application. He took a more explicit route.

“I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers… I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved,
and will go in and out and find pasture.”

They knew He was a man and not a door so another door in their minds slowly began to open. He was the shepherd; He was the door. The others were not to be trusted.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”

Each of the men had a different memory of the wickedness of those who wanted to discredit Jesus or even kill Him. The contrast between Jesus and the others was stark. Their little procession halted in the streets as Jesus collected the attention of each disciple to make His crucial point.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

This was truth that each man knew in his heart as he clearly heard the voice of his Shepherd.

Scriptures:
John 10:1-10

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Psalm 100:3 NKJV
Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Psalm 23 NKJV
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, 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 runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my earliest realization of You is that of My Shepherd. May I never outgrow this vision, this truth. I sang this song as a child and I believe it to this day. Psalm 23 is my expectation and my experience. I have feasted at that table in the presence of my enemies with a cup of grace full and running over. I have rested by the still waters, never fearing the shadow. I have known the peace in the valley and felt the comfort of Your rod and staff in the mountain passages. My needs are met by Your hand in verdant pastures of plenty. And I know that I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.

Song:
The Lord Is My Shepherd

Traditional

Round:
[1] The Lord is my shepherd;
I’ll live for him always.
He leads me by still waters;
I’ll live for him always.

[2] Always, always,
I’ll live for him always.
Always, always,
I’ll live for him always.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I’ll live for him always.
He leads me by still waters;
I’ll live for him always.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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