DEVOTIONS WITH PASTOR BOB
The Gospel of John Chapter 10
“The Good Shepard”
The Book of John in Song - Chapter 10
John 10:2-5,14-15, 27-28 (NLT)
2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.
5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
14 - 15 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So, I sacrifice my life for the sheep.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
No one can snatch them away from me,
Jesus said, "I am the GOOD shepherd.
The word that is used here for "good" is kalos in the GK, which means good in a wholistic sort of way.
In his commentary on the Gospel of John, William Barclay likens the
phrase, "good shepherd," to the phrase, "the good doctor."
We don’t hear “good doctor” much anymore.
It was because of the personal attention that doctors gave in those days.
They made house calls—often after the sun had gone down.
They carried a black leather bag with a stethoscope and other doctor-tools.
They carried medications too.
They would take your temperature and listen to your heart and lungs and
tell you what to do. They made you feel better.
We have good doctors today too, but not many of them make house calls.
But the good doctors of today have healing power far beyond that of the good doctor who used to make house calls.
The good doctor of today can use all the new technology of CAT-scans and MRI's, a laptop, and a host of other tools and tests to figure out what is wrong with us.
But there are different kinds of good doctors, but they all have one thing in common.
Good doctors are devoted to those who need their help.
They give themselves to the care of their patients.
Dr. Adele O'Sullivan practiced medicine in a clinic for the homeless in Phoenix, Arizona.
But lots of homeless people never visited her clinic, so she went to soup kitchens and shelters to treat them.
I should mention that she is also a nun.
Her love for the needy came from her love for Jesus.
This good doctor, learned her craft at the feet of the Good Shepherd.
I wasn't surprised to read about this part of her life.
Jesus has a special place in His heart for the down and outers, the poor, the needy, and He calls us to love them too.
There are not too many of us who personally know a shepherd today.
Even fewer of us have ever tried to raise sheep.
In some parts of our world today you will see hundreds of sheep just roaming on 1,000's of acres on commercial sheep ranches.
Of course, sheep are easy to love from a distance.
They aren't big enough to be threatening.
They look as cute as a button with their fuzzy wool coats.
Warm, fuzzy, and friendly—now that's a sheep for you!
But sheep can also be maddening as well.
Dumb as dirt, that's a sheep according to some!
Sheep always seem to be able to find the hole in the fence to get out, but never can get back in again.
The whole flock plays a deadly game of follow the leader, even over a cliff.
It isn't quite as easy to love sheep when you must deal with them day by day.
If you get close to sheep and if it’s raining at the time, let me tell you, there is nothing smellier than wet sheep.
- Jesus is the Good Doctor. He loves us even when we smell bad.
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He loves us even when we make silly or stupid mistakes.
In our text in verse 27, Jesus is speaking directly to his disciples and assured them and us, " My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
No ifs or buts. No exceptions. No escape or disclaimer clauses.
If you belong to Jesus as a child of God, then you are one of His sheep.
Now the relationship between sheep and shepherd is one that's foreign to most of us.
But that was not the case for Jesus' original audience.
They were well aware that many flocks of sheep with their own shepherds.
These flocks would be brought together to stay in the safety of a common sheepfold at night.
In the morning, each shepherd would return and call his sheep to come away with him to graze the fields.
Even though the sheep in the sheepfold would hear many other shepherds' voices throughout the early hours of the morning, they were trained only to respond to the voice of their one true shepherd.
When they heard that singular, undeniable voice of their true shepherd;
- it didn't matter if they were light or dark colored,
- from a different breed,
- young or old,
- wide, slender,
- high end or budget rack,
All that mattered in that moment was that they were his sheep.
All that mattered was who they belonged to!
Now being with a shepherd could also be dangerous.
The sheep might look like a warm, fuzzy pet to us.
But they looked like dinner to a hungry lions or bears.
The Old Testament, we meet David, who was first introduced as a shepherd-boy.
It tells of him killing a lion that was trying to get his sheep.
It tells of him killing a bear that was trying to get his sheep.
Most of us don't know much more about lions and bears than we do about sheep.
I'm just as happy to study and appreciate them as God's creatures from afar.
There's something about lions and bears that are intimidating and unpredictable.
When David was still a young shepherd-boy, he stood his ground when faced with a lion and when faced with a bear. He fought them both to the death.
As it turned out, he was the one left standing when the battles were finished, but it could have gone either way.
The point is David risked his life for his sheep and was victorious.
But Jesus, The Good Shepherd did even more.
He said, "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down
his life for the sheep."
Jesus came to die, but he also came to conquer death in the resurrection.
His death would have been totally meaningless, without His resurrection.
Jesus came to die on the cross, so that He might break the bonds of death, and power of sin for us.
Could God have found some simpler way to save us? Probably!
But God chose the way of the cross and the open tomb, because he knew that nothing would get or compel our attention like the death of his Son, and nothing would give us more hope than the open tomb.
THE KIND OF LIFE THAT HE CALLS US TO LIVE
God also chose the way of the cross to show us the kind of life that he calls us to live.
In Paul's letter to the Philippians, he says:
"Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn't consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death on the cross" (Philippians 2:5-8)
Paul concludes his words about Jesus by saying:
"Therefore, God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:9-10a).
Let us remember always that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who gave his life for us.
Jesus is the Good Doctor, the Great Physician who is devoted to our care and heals us of all our afflictions, mind, body, and spirit.
And yes! He still makes house calls.
PRAYER IN SONG
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD / PSALM 23 / KEITH GREEN