John 10:1-10: The Shepherd who is the Gate.(please click for today’s passage).
Here are some simple thoughts from a well known passage. But it is one thing to know these truths and another to live them.
Come through the ”shepherd” (11). Jesus is both the ”shepherd” and the ”gate” (7). I understand that sometimes eastern shepherds would literally lie across the entrance to a sheepfold at night, thus acting as the door. It is vital that there should be a truly converted ministry (2). People who are to serve as ‘under-shepherds’ over Christ’s flock must first of all come to God through Jesus who is both ”the good shepherd” (11) and ”the gate” (7).
Listen to the shepherd (3-5). Eastern shepherds had a personal relationship with each animal in their flock. Often they had a different name for each one and, possibly, an individual call. If you have come to be part of Christ’s flock, you will surely recognise His voice. ”…a father or mother will recognise their child’s voice in a crowded room. But those of us who don’t have much to do with the bird and animal kingdoms on a daily basis are often startled at just how much animals can distinguish between different people as well as between other members of their own species. To this day, in the Middle East, a shepherd will go into a crowded sheepfold and call out his own sheep one by one, naming them. They will recognise his voice and come to him. The shepherd, after all, spends most hours of most days in their company. He knows their individual characters, markings, likes and dislikes. What’s more, they know him. They know his voice. Someone else can come to the sheepfold and they won’t go near him, even if he calls the right names. They are listening for the one voice that matters, the voice they trust.” Tom Wright: ‘John for everyone’, pp.147/148.
Follow the shepherd (3-5). He goes ahead of the flock. It is for us to keep our eyes on Him and follow where He leads. We follow ”the lamb” who is also the shepherd (Revelation 14:4). Our following must be to the extent of ”wherever he goes.” He is Lord.
Let the shepherd give you real life (10). Here’s a suggestion: read Psalm 23, and pray it through, giving thanks for this abundant life that is yours.