Are you a good follower?
Are you a reluctant?
This message is not just about being a follower, but following the right person.
Jesus gathers HIS FLOCK
Jesus is forming something new- gathering together a new flock form different sheep pens- He is making them his own “MY sheep, my sheep”
Jesus is calling out his sheep to Himself; Jesus is calling people out of the Jewish world into his kingdom. (vs. 16)
He must bring them into His flock also. Jesus is calling people out of the gentile world to be his, to belong to him, to be with him.
So that together – there is one flock under the authority and care of the one shepherd.
Jesus shows us the unseen God - God is THE Shepherd, as the Old Testament states. Jesus is calling you to be one of his sheep - as he is the only Shepherd for life. The focus is on knowing the shepherd
Do you belong to this Shepherd?
Who do you follow?
HIS VOICE- they follow Him
He calls, he leads, he gathers them in with his voice.
Repeated throughout this chapter the sheep that belong to this Shepherd…
Listen to his voice
and follow him – will not listen or follow just anyone, not stranger but Jesus.
vs. 3 He calls his own sheep by name….his sheep follow because they know his voice
vs. 16 I have other sheep… They too will listen to my voice.
vs. 27 you are not my sheep—contrast- My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.
Christian life is not about having a one-off encounter. This metaphor of Shepherd and sheep portrays an on-going relationship with Jesus. His provision, security. A relationship of listening and following. A daily and dynamic relationship.
If there is no listening to Him, there is no following. They listen and… keep on listening to the Shepherd.
They follow…and keep on following the Shepherd. They are identified as his sheep.
What is it to listen to the Shepherd?
It is to hear his message combined with faith - to fully trust and believe in what grace and life he offers and what he instructs; his promises to hold on to; his commands to obey; his way of living to follow. Forgive; love the enemy, help the undeserving.
He leads with his voice- If there is no listening to Him, there is no following.
This is why the Holy Spirit is so important that Jesus sends to us – “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
The Spirit of God echoes out the Voice of the Shepherd. We need to have an attitude of, “Lord continue to speak to me through your Word, teach me, guide me instruct me, that I may follow you, that I may know you more.”
“I am the good shepherd I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
How well connected to Jesus are you?
How well do you know him?
It is one thing to retell some stories, know some facts. It is a nothing thing to have relationship, love, trust, and submission to authority.
Is Jesus taking the lead- day by day?
Are you hearing his voice through Scripture- instructing, guiding, encouraging, comforting, correcting?
Are you surrendering to his authority, trusting Him in the way he has called you to live. As the good shepherd trust him that He leads you for your good.
Sheep go astray and sheep get attacked. We don’t need to spend time recognizing the voices NOT to follow, rather we need to focus on the Voice we are to follow. Know Jesus, Know the Shepherd- so you can discern the errors, pick out the false ideas, the lies that are destructive to faith, and harm our spiritual vitality.
The Good Shepherd leads with his voice- are you listening to Him?
The sheep whom he owns follow him.
Are you following him? Do you belong to him?
In giving HIS LIFE- they receive eternal life
Trust! So how trustworthy is Jesus?
Consider the picture. Where is he leading these sheep- to pasture to danger, Will he protect? Will he run?
He Lays down his life (to die) for the sheep. This is one tough Shepherd. What shepherd dies for sheep?! Most would preserve your own life and count the cost in lost stock numbers. Jesus cares for those who belong to him.
NOT SELF-PRESERVATION but SELF-SACRIFICE He can be trusted with your life.
He lays down his life and is the source of the abundant life. Abundant because it is from God who is infinite, without bounds.
Contrast now with hired hand. He cares for the sheep because he’s paid and will do his job, but up to a limit. He cares nothing for the sheep, and much more about self-preservation. So, when danger abounds, he takes flight.
We are often looking for life in all the wrong places. The world's works look successful and it's tempting to follow the world.
Jesus gives abundant life and this does not look like the life the world gives. The challenge for the followers of Jesus, living in this anti-Jesus world which looks better (grass is greener?!), “Do not love the world” systems and values which are contrary to God’s will.
Know what eternal life is, beyond this world. Be confident of what is to come. Know the end, not just the moment that so many modern people focus on, living in the moment.
The end for the world is judgement; the end for followers of Christ is eternal life.
By faith and with patience, though abundant life now is not fully realised yet, we need to have a deepening trust in Him - that he is good and in control of all things.
We need to be growing in deeper knowledge of God that makes the things of the world seem small.
The value of following the Good Shepherd is knowing God. This is of highest value.
With the thieves, robbers and the wolf that attacks and sends the hired hand to take flight, Jesus spells out to us the dangers, destroyers, deceivers of spiritual life.
We are vulnerable. The lone sheep is in a very precarious position. Followers of Jesus Christ are to be in a flock, under the Shepherds care. It’s spiritually very dangerous out there. Jesus said that he sends us out as Sheep in the midst of wolves. Crazy! Not if the Shepherd with them is good and far greater than any wolf, thief or robber.
We can be confident of our security – “no one will snatch them out of my hand”
In HIS HAND - they securely reside
Those who truly belong to the Good Shepherd cannot be lost from him- despite these dangers about.
The hired hand leaves and the wolf snatches. Jesus personally shepherds us, no hired hand required. Therefore no wolf can snatch us from his hand.
What do we fear?
Loss of comfort, loss of control of our lives; loss of security. Perish.
I give them eternal life ; they will never perish. Cf 3:16.
The good shepherd voluntarily goes into death for the sheep. No one takes his life from him. He is in control and he takes his life up again. In doing so he defeats death, has power over death, has total domination over death. Gives death the flick. Smashes death. He is the shepherd to have.
Paul said... “I am prepared to be bound I am prepared to die”
We can follow Jesus into death. Slavery to the fear of death is taken away in knowing the Good Shepherd who lays down his life and takes it up again, who is in full control in all things, all dangers. all wolves, all the enemies like death, can not snatch us from his hand. We are held in his hand. We securely reside. So there is uninterrupted following. It doesn’t stop at death. We continue to belong to Him and be in His presence.
We can follow him into death, knowing we will never perish. Held securely in his hand.
We can follow him into life despairing situations 2 Cor 1:8-9
There is no other person to follow so trustingly, closely as Jesus. Follow the leader- the good shepherd.