Updated: Jun 21, 2018
There is an old story about a Pastor who was celebrating his 50th anniversary of Ordination. For this occassion heinvited his personal friend, Richard Burton, to come and recite his favorite Psalm 23. Richard was a trained orator and a great communicator. As a favour to his friend he agreed to do this on one condition; that his old friend and Pastor would also recite it after him.
At the appointed time Richard Burton stood and proclaimed the popular Psalm with such oratorical mastery the congregation immediately and spontaneously applauded.
Then the humble Pastor stood andas promised began to recite the beloved Psalm from the heart.After he had finished his not so professional recitation, the stunned congregation sat in silence, in awe, some moved to tears. Someone in the front pew sitting with Richard Burton leand over and quietly asked: "Why did people loudly applaud you yet were so silently moved by the Pastor?" Burton replied, "Because I know the Psalm but he knows the Shepherd."
Today many recognise Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, but He is also the GREAT SHEPHERD of our SOULS.
Hebrews 13:20-21 'Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of His eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory foe ever and ever amen.'
When we look at the profile of the great Shepherd Jesus we can immediately recognise His purpose. That purpose is twofold; to redeem mankind from their sins and secondly to nurture and equip so we can do His will. It's about equiping us, His sheep to do life well.
As a believer or at the least, a person searching for answers let me ask you; Do you know the Shepherd? How well do you know Him? In John 10:1-14 Jesus describes Himself in verses 11 and 14 as the Good Shepherd. He uses this metaphor to show us the relationship He wants with us as children of God's kingdom.
THE ROLE OF THE TRUE SHEPHERD IS ONE OF PROTECTION
In John 10:1-3 Jesus uses the imagery of a sheepfold to illustrate His message.
In ancient Israel a sheepfold
was generally a circular or rectangular wall about 3 metres high with a single narrow opening that served as a door.
Nothing could get into, or out of the sheepfold without going through the Shepherd who took up guard in the doorway.
Jesus declared that only thieves and robbers attempt to enter the sheepfold by means other than the door. The Shepherd however always enters the right way.
Thieves and Robbers are people who have their own agenda, or personal motives, people who are self-absorbed and are out to do harm.
The Thief - An embezzeler / Pilferer - one who steals by stealth, a false teacher or confidence trickster who is pursuing their own agenda for personal gain.
The Robber - is a brigand or thug, with no moral code who will happily and blatantly do harm with violence, again for their own reward.
THE SHEEPFOLD IS A SAFE SECURE ENCLAVE
One of the most important things to notice is found in V2-4 of our text.
'He who enteres by the door is the shepherd of the sheep, to Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; He call His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He brings out His own sheep, He goes before them and His sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.'
The Sheep hear His voice.
The relationship of the true believer is intimate. When we spend time in His presence we become familiar with His voice. He always speaks to His own and if we are unsure of His voice perhaps its because we are not spending time grazing where He has chosen for us; grazing in the World rather than the WORD of God.
He calls each of them by name.
In Hebrew culture a name was much more than an appellation or identifying tag. It spoke of Character and generally expressed an understanding of your personality. Names were originally given prophetically.
He leads them out.
Jesusas our shepherd shows us the way - He is a guide to us. Psalm 23 tells us "He leads us by still waters. . . .(v2) ", "He leads us in paths of Righteousness. . . .(v3)" He directs His sheep (people) who know Him, who will listen to Him and be obedient to His word.
The only way into or out of the sheepfold is through the door - which the shepherd guards and protects. Coming through the Shepherd speaks of submission to the authority of God given leadership.
ARE YOU SAFELY IN THE ENCLAVE OF GOD'S SHEEPFOLD
There are many who have grown up in church life or around people who live godly lives yet perhaps never truly made Jesus the Lord and saviour of their lives. You live by your own agenda, your own desires. You have never committed to Him as the shepherd of your life. You can make that decision today, it is a choice to follow the leading of His voice , to be obedient to the word of God and allow Jesus Christ to be your guide, the great shepherd of your soul.