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Encountering Jesus: The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

I’m guessing at some point in your life you have been lost. Maybe, you’ve lost your bearings in a new community and gotten turned around. Maybe, found yourself in nature wondering where exactly you parked the car. Maybe you’ve been to Ikea, which in my opinion, ensures you will get lost. If you’ve been lost, then you know the reassuring reality of someone guiding and leading you back to where you belong. In John 10, Jesus makes clear that He is the one, the Shepherd that leads His people to the places that they belong.  It’s here that we see that: Jesus is the Good Shepherd, going before us and calling us to follow Him as He protects and provides for His Sheep.

1. Jesus is the True Shepherd: v.1-6

Jesus begins this discourse by contrasting true and false shepherds. Jesus speaks to the illegitimacy of false shepherds. This is seen in a number of ways. False shepherds don’t have a rightful claim to the sheep. False shepherds aren’t followed by the sheep and they aren’t heard by the sheep. Contrasted against false shepherds is the True Shepherd; which is Jesus. Jesus, as the True Shepherd has a rightful claim on us. He calls us by our name, He leads us out and His sheep follow Him. This depiction is a beautiful portrait of how Jesus leads us through life. As Jesus goes before us, calling us by name to follow Him, and as we hear the voice of our Shepherd, that voice that we know and trust; we follow Him trusting His leading and provision. This is what the True Shepherd is doing for us. Are we following His leading and trusting Him as He goes before us?

2. Jesus is the Good Shepherd: v.7-18

Jesus expands on the metaphor of being our Shepherd by giving two “I AM” statements in the following verses. It’s here that Jesus tells us that He is both the door and the Good Shepherd. The door is meant to depict the opening in the sheep pen, which the shepherd would literally stand between and sleep in. It depicts the protective and provisionary nature of the shepherd for the sheep. Additionally, Jesus’ statement about being the Good Shepherd speaks to Jesus sacrificial, intimate and initiating work on the sheep’s behalf. Consider, the Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. It seems backward. A person, made in the image of God, willingly laying down their lives, for the well-being of an oblivious farm animal. Yet that’s exactly the image that Jesus gives to describe the work that He does for us. It really is something that should cause us to celebrate what God has done for us. May these wonderful truths serve to bring you confidence in Christ’s work on your behalf. May they remind you of His provision and protection over you. May they allow you to see His concern for your spiritual well-being. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, going before us and calling us to follow Him as He protects and provides for us. What a glorious truth!

As we closed our time, we did so by asking a few questions to reflect on. I’ll include those below. Take a moment to reconsider and think through these items again.

1. Can I rightly identify myself as a sheep in need of a shepherd?

2. Will I listen for the voice of my Shepherd?

3. Will I choose to follow the voice of my Shepherd?

4. Will I see Jesus as my means of protection?

5. Will I see Jesus as my means of provision?

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