I've mentioned previously some of the names of Jesus. Yesterday as I was reading He became the Door and the Good Shepherd. It reminded me of a teaching I'd heard.
It is fairly common knowledge that sheep are not very smart and they wander unless guided by their shepherd. Scripture calls us sheep as well because we wander aimlessly in life without our Shepherd. Let me explain as best as I can remember what this guide told us about shepherds and sheep.
First, Jesus is called the Good Shepherd and He is the Door we are to go through to enter into the Kingdom of God. He is the ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth and the ONLY Life. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, like the wolves and thieves bent on capturing the unsuspecting sheep.
Straying a bit from John and heading into Psalm 23, we were told that a shepherd was known for his ability to lead and that one of the things a shepherd carried with him was a staff. It was always the shepherd's role to find calm water and green pastures for his sheep and the staff was used to direct and correct sheep. Sometimes the sheep would be so lost in their grazing they would begin to wander from the area the shepherd had chosen for them. Or they would see what appeared to be better pastures and they would wander in that direction. The shepherd would use his staff to lead them back, sometimes having to take the crook of the staff and draw them back!
Sheep could often be irritated by bugs and flies on their faces and noses which would cause them to rub their heads for relief, often until they were bleeding. They could do nothing on their own to bring about relief and without help could die. The shepherd would take olive oil, place it on a cloth and gently rub the affected areas. Not only did the olive oil help, but the tender touch of the shepherd.
Do you see the the similarities? I love how God uses real life situations to draw analogies.
Shepherds were not well liked. Their job was despised. Most of them were hired to tend flocks whose sheep would be used in Temple sacrifices. These shepherds could have cared less about protecting their flock. Later in John 10 Jesus tells us explicitly: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them...I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own."
Jesus, our Savior, came not to be served but to humble Himself, serve and give His life for us, His sheep. He knows our names. He draws us near (and sometimes back) and desires for us to follow Him to where we can be saved and led in the direction He knows is best for us. He wants to be our Door and our Shepherd. Draw close and listen for His voice. Listen--can you hear Him calling your name? Trust Him to lead you as the Door into the presence of the Good Shepherd.