From God’s perspective, so many people are lost and without help. They can’t find their way, and they’re headed to the edge of a cliff.
1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Shepherds and sheep were super common in biblical times, and Jesus uses this familiar illustration to tell people who He is and who we are.
Sheep are almost always mentioned in connection to a shepherd in the Bible for one really good reason. Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd to bring them to places for eating, drinking, and rest, and it’s because of this that the shepherd has to look for the sheep when they’re lost.
We are the sheep, and Jesus is not only the Shepherd but the Good Shepherd.
In this passage, Jesus calls us to follow him in 3 ways.
- To intimacy with Him – No one comes close to chaperoning us as Jesus does. He speaks to us. We can hear His voice and distinguish it from other voices we’re hearing. Sometimes in life, we have so much noise around us (external or internal) that it makes it hard to really hear Jesus.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
- Lifestyle of sacrifice and risk – Jesus calls out to the disciples to deny themselves and take up their cross. Are we willing to sacrifice for those who don’t know Jesus? The easy places are already hearing and responding to the gospel. The low-hanging fruit is being harvested, but the hidden, overlooked, dark, and resistant places, will require greater perseverance and more significant sacrifice from all of us and from those who will be sent.
We go to the hard places because Jesus is worth it, and He has already made the greatest sacrifice so everyone can have this opportunity.
- To seek and save the lost – As the Good Shepherd, Jesus has more than one sheep. Sheep tend to stay together because they know they will get lost if they veer off from the flock. So, when Jesus seeks out the lost sheep, the found sheep won’t scatter from the flock in his absence. And Jesus doesn’t go up to the lost sheep and ask them if they want to be found. He knows leading them to the flock is the greatest treasure to give.
The same can be said for us.
If we believe Jesus is our greatest treasure, it’s easier to share it with others, but if we’re not sure, it’s hard to want to share it with others. And if you’re not there yet, that’s OK. Jesus will reveal himself in time to you because He loves you and will be faithful.
No matter where you are in your walk with him, He has a heart for those who have never heard of Jesus. And Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls us to the same 3 things.
So, will you accept His invitation?
For me LHC content, subscribe to our newsletter below or follow us on Instagram.
Want to play catch-up, or are you looking for a specific topic? Check out our collection of sermons here.