THE TRUE SHEPHERD
John 10 (NKJV)
Jesus the True Shepherd
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. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
I have highlighted in bold the parts of these bible verses that I wish to refer to in a comparatively short post.
(In this passage it is revealed that metaphorically and literally Jesus Christ is both the door and the good shepherd referred to.)
Most assuredly – emphatic assertion – amen – most certainly – just a few of the nuances in meaning of such an opening statement.
As a result we are left in no doubt that the Son of God is telling us the absolute truth. We can be most assured it is true and we need to hear it.
A sheepfold is to be entered into. As with any shepherd he has a place for the sheep to dwell in. A place of safety and health. (We could say it is in Himself)
Spiritually this means what? For the church of Jesus Christ, known as the body of Christ, the sheepfold is that place where all the sheep dwell together.
It is a spiritual reality, and not a sheep shed (material church building). This sheepfold is made up of a worldwide membership, which can be found in all parts of the earth.
Who are the members? Only God can answer that question with 100% accuracy. But true believers, (true ‘sheep’ and not wolves in sheep’s clothing) know each other, when they meet.
The door into the church is of course a metaphor for Christ Jesus Himself (referred to in later verses – not quoted above). Meeting Him guarantees an ushering – into the church, and subsequently heaven itself.
The church is also the kingdom of God. ‘The Kingdom of God’ is where the King is, it is the rule of the kingdom (The Bible), and it consists of the members of the kingdom (His subjects if you like).
Where two or three of the members meet together – He promises to be in the midst. So the kingdom of God is both in the believers (within) and also in the midst of their gathering.
Jesus in His teaching here is both the Shepherd and the Door into the fold (the church).
The sheep hear His voice – and He calls every one of them individually by name and sometimes corporately, when He speaks to them all in one place, or at once, as was often the case.
Wherever He goes the sheep will follow.
When someone else calls them or seeks to take them somewhere else – they will not follow, they do not respond to strangers, regardless of what religion or philosophy they espouse.
Especially when it is not based on the kingdom rule (The Bible).
The sheep will not follow the words of the stranger, that seeks to distract them from the truth.
And true to form many will not understand what all this is about.
but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
The last part I want to highlight is: v4 for they know His voice.
The sheep know His voice. Think about it. The followers of Christ know His voice. Those who are not His followers do not.
But His followers were once strangers to Christ, and He was a stranger to them. When suddenly they became convinced (converted) that this stranger had not come to steal kill or destroy them, like the thief mentioned in this passage.
Rather The Shepherd came to save them, to set them apart to Himself, comfort them, guide them, be with them always, and continue to speak so that recognition of His voice increases.
He came to set them free from a shepherd-less wandering existence.
Suddenly they recognised the only 100% reliable voice in the universe and subsequently they proved Him to be the Good Shepherd, worthy of their allegiance and worship. This usually doesn’t happen overnight, and a period of time of listening to and checking out His voice must take place.
In fact He has preserved this book of the kingdom with all He wishes to say locked up inside it – for those who will at least give Him a chance to state His case, and open it to their understanding.
1 Timothy 4:9-11 (NKJV)
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.