Thursday, May 24, 2012



The next "I AM" signature of Jesus is a comforting one. It's all about our relationship with Him as a shepherd. He plays the role of shepherd and we are His sheep. Here's how Jesus puts it: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers."
Several flocks of sheep were held in a pen for the evening, each flock belonging to a different shepherd. When it was time for a shepherd to take his flock out of the pen, he actually called his sheep. And the sheep heard and recognized their shepherd's voice and followed.

In this relational image of shepherd and sheep we who are followers of Jesus are the sheep. As His sheep we hear and know His voice and follow. The challenge for us today is three-fold: FIRST-We must do all we can do to spend more and more time with our shepherd, so we can get to know Him as our shepherd-to get to know His voice when He speaks.

SECOND-We must be careful to take the time to listen for our shepherd's voice. It's too easy to be so busy making noise that we aren't quiet enough to hear what Jesus is saying.

THIRD-The shepherd calls His sheep and leads them out. We must wait for the shepherd to speak and to lead out with His orders and opportunities.
Jesus continues His teaching: "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep."

It's from this teaching that we get SECRET #47: The follower of Jesus relates to the Master as the good shepherd. Jesus views Himself as a shepherd-owner of His sheep. He doesn't see it as a job that He was hired to do, but He has a vital relationship with His sheep. He owns them, He loves them and will do anything He has to do to protect them. So as we relate to Jesus as our shepherd, we have a sense of real security and protection from whatever might happen.

Then Jesus shifts gears a bit and says something very interesting. He says, "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again." (John 10)

Who are these "other sheep" Jesus mentions here? There have been several creative interpretations of this phrase. The best way to get what Jesus means is to understand who His audience is. He is speaking primarily to a Jewish audience here. So when He speaks of "other sheep" He owns, it seems clearly that Jesus is referring to all non-Jews who will also be sheep who are owned by the shepherd. This will turn out to be a big deal to the Jews. They won't like it and will even violently react to such a thought later.

This can especially be seen in the book of the Acts of Jesus. The Jews had a rough time giving up the idea that they owned the shepherd. NOTE Jesus never says that the sheep own the shepherd, but the shepherd is the owner of the sheep.

Let me take this one step further for your consideration. Just as the Jews had trouble with this concept of not owning the shepherd, so do Christians today have trouble with not being the sole owner of Jesus, the shepherd. Jesus is all-inclusive in that He will work with anyone anywhere. He is not owned by any group of sheep-not even the Christians. No, Jesus is more awesome than this. He is the shepherd-owner of the sheep. If you know Him and hear His voice, then you are His sheep. This is the relationship Jesus wants with you. He wants to be your shepherd. SECRET #47: The follower of Jesus relates to the Master as the good shepherd. So, get to know Jesus as your shepherd and listen for His voice. Follow Him as your shepherd.