Saturday, May 12, 2012

Following Good Leaders

The scripture, John 10:7-18 is a shepherd/flock metaphor that model spiritual leadership of God's people.  Jesus compared His relationship with believers to that of a shepherd and his sheep.  He identifies Himself by using four "I am" statements: verse 7-"I am the door of the sheep," verse 9-"I am the door," verse 10-"I am come that they might have life...,"and verse 11-"I am the good shepherd."  Although these declarations remind me of His teachings in our recent studies which included, "I am the Bread of Life," and "the Living Water,"they speak to the fact that there is a right way to enter the spiritual fold. We must accept Jesus' call to be saved.  A good shepherd is set apart from the thief or robber by the following characteristics: 1) He approaches directly- enter at the gate; 2) He has God's authority-the gatekeeper allows him to enter: 3) He is trustworthy and meets real needs-the sheep recognize His voice and follow Him; and 4) He has sacrificial love-He is willing to lay down His life for the sheep.  Jesus willingly gave His live that the flock could be purified!

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, He owns His sheep, He is on intimate terms with them, He invest a great amount of time with His sheep, and He gave His life to save their life.  Normally there was only one door into the sheep pen, which reduced the chance of unwanted persons from entering and harming the sheep.  Jesus explained that the door (remember: Jesus said I am the door) is the main entrance and that anyone who tries to get in any other way besides through the door would be a thief.  The shepherd enters the only door, the shepherd calls his sheep by name, because he knows them and they recognizes him. There are thieves who may come to steal, kill and destroy and hirelings who are unwilling to lay their lives down to save the flock.  Only the shepherd is able to enter the sheepfold and call his own sheep out to follow him. 

There is a relationship between Jesus and God the Father noted in verse 15 and His obedience to God's wishes, when He says, "As the Father knoweth me, ...know I the Father."  Jesus explained to the Pharisees, He lay down His life for the sheep "and other sheep (verse 16)" speaking of not just Jews, but Gentiles as well.  Verse 16 continues with "and there shall be one fold and one shepherd" which tells us that there will be one flock consisting of all believers (Gentile and Jewish) and one Shepherd.

Jesus was living out God's commission as stated in John 3:16.  He gave His life voluntarily and had the power to take it up again.  He controlled His own death and resurrection.  He is still looking after His sheep trying to keep them in the fold, away form danger and remember it is because He sacrificed  His life that we can have eternal life.

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