Jesus – The Good Shepherd
Do you remember what the Pharisees did to the blind man?
They cast him out of the synagogue.
What a terrible thing to do!
They were supposed to be teachers and shepherds of the people.
Is this how a shepherd would treat one of his sheep?
No, indeed not!
From the dealings of the Pharisees with the blind man, Jesus taught the people the great difference between false shepherds and the Good Shepherd. He began by saying:
“Verily, Verily (of a truth, of a truth), I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.”
It may seem like a strange parable, but what precious truths it reveals!
In our country, sheep graze very peacefully in pastures that are fenced or hedged in. However, in the land of Canaan, shepherds led their sheep through open fields and brought them to a sheepfold at night. A sheepfold was a large area with walls around it. There was an opening in the wall for the sheep to enter in and be safe through the dark night.
Could the sheep really be safe at night if there was no door?
Perhaps one might wander out through the opening, or a wild beast might creep in to kill and devour a sheep. Jesus answered:
“I am the Door of the sheep.”
When the sheep were all safe in the sheepfold, the shepherd would sit down in the opening. In this way he became the door. If a wild beast, like a wolf or a lion, tried to enter the sheepfold, the shepherd would rise up and defend his flock, even if it cost him his life.
An hireling (someone hired to watch the sheep in place of the shepherd) would flee at a time of danger because he did not really love the sheep.
Jesus declared to the people:
“I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep,”
“…I lay down My life for the sheep.”
Again Jesus said to them:
“I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine.”
In eastern sheepfolds there were often many flocks mingling together at night.
How would a shepherd separate his sheep and be sure he had all his own flock?
In the morning he would go a little distance from the sheepfold and begin to call his sheep. The Bible calls this hissingfor them. What a scene it must have been to see one sheep after another perk up its ears, make its way out of the sheepfold, and go after their shepherd. The other sheep paid no attention at all to the shepherd’s call. The Lord tells us the secret. The sheep know the voice of their shepherd and they follow him, but the voice of a stranger they will not follow.
The Bible often compares the Lord’s people to sheep.
Perhaps you have memorised the well-known Psalm beginning with: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
What a beautiful picture of the Lord’s people in the world!
They are taught to hear His voice and follow Him.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.”
They can say: “it is the voice of my Beloved.”
What the Lord told the Jews in His day is also true of many today.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep.”
By G.L. TenBroeke