The Good Shepherd

Jesus Christ said in John 10:1-2(NLT), “1 I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd! To gain a greater understanding of the truth our Savior is teaching us in these verses, we need to know a little bit about the time in which he taught this. Farming was very necessary for survival during biblical days and knowledge about farming was common and widespread. Because the practice of farming was so important to a family’s way of life, Jesus Christ often taught using stories and parables about farming, so they would be easily understood by the people. So, when our powerful Lord and Savior referred to himself as the Good Shepherd, the people understood the heft of this title. It means that he provides a kind of protection, care, and diligence that never ends.  

In biblical days, sheep were very important because their skins were used for warm clothing, and their meat was a primary source of food. Because sheep were so integral to sustaining their way of life, a shepherd had to be extremely diligent and attentive. Wolves were on the prowl for food and were a constant threat. Knowing this, a sheepfold or herd of sheep would be walled-in during the night hours, with only one entrance gate, and the gatekeeper would sleep in front of it so he could protect the sheep.

There can be no doubt that we, the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, are his sheep, and he is our shepherd. He is a good shepherd because of his perfect attentiveness, diligence, and protection. Robbers would know that coming through the gate would mean they’d be detected and handled appropriately, so they would sneak over the walls to try to steal and kill the sheep. The one that enters the front gate is the good shepherd. He is the one that only has the very best intentions towards the care of the sheep.

There were many that claimed to be the Messiah during earlier biblical days. They claimed to be good shepherds, but had no diligence and attentiveness at all. They were playing games, and there are many that play this same game today. But John 10:3 tells us that the gatekeeper opens the gate for the good shepherd and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls them by name, and he leads them out into the green pastures during the day. When Jesus Christ walked the earth, the Pharisees believed themselves to have eminent authority. Like the false preachers, teachers, and prophets of our time, the Pharisees were arrogant and believed that only they and those like them could pastor or shepherd the people. They wanted to control them and saw Jesus Christ as a threat to the authority they believed they had. Many religious leaders of our time have this same view. They do not point to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as the Good Shepherd, but instead point to themselves or their religion as the savior.

Every religion thinks they have it right, and that all the others have it wrong. Invalidating and devaluing people has run amuck, and people are being made to feel like outsiders. The sheep are in danger of being led astray by the wolf, who is a thief, leading people outside the boundaries of the gate. This isn’t the love of Christ. Jesus Christ tells us in John 8:32(NLT), “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus Christ is the gate. He is the truth, and we can only be free through him.

We are very blessed to have Christian teachers that stand on the Word of God. They help to sharpen us as we grow and walk in the Spirit, but we must be ever so careful. We cannot allow a person to take the place of God and follow them blindly. Our Good Shepherd is Jesus Christ, and we should be studying the Word of God and growing in Christ so that we recognize God’s voice for ourselves. This is incredibly important for the day and time in which we live. Hebrews 11:6(NLT) tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Our Heavenly Father rewards diligence. He blesses those that follow His Word. He doesn’t compromise. Either we believe it, or we don’t. If we believe His Word, we will be doers of it. We will follow the Good Shepherd, hear his voice, and remain continually in his protection and care.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“The Good Shepherd”, written by JMack,© 2019. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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