"The man that guards the gate opens the gate for the shepherd. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. The shepherd calls his own sheep, using their names, and he leads them out. The shepherd brings all of his sheep out. Then he goes ahead of them and leads them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice."
— John 10:3-4
Even today, sheep in Israel are separated from other flocks by the sound of their shepherd's voice. They follow their shepherd while sheep from other flocks follow their own shepherd. This is true even if the flocks are intermingled for a time. Jesus wants us to know that as our Shepherd, he knows us intimately and will call us by name. We, in turn, need to learn to recognize his voice when he calls us. How do we learn to do that? By reading his words in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John in the Bible) and learning to recognize his ways and his will. He will lead us where he wants us to go and bless us as we need to be blessed, but we need to be able to distinguish his voice from the many false religious voices that crowd into our world today. The only way to do that is to listen and follow the words God has given us from Jesus in the Scriptures. Let's renew our passion to know the Jesus of the Gospels and follow those words!
Gracious God, please help me follow your Son as my Shepherd as I commit to spend more time with him in the Gospels. Bless me as I learn to recognize his work and his leading in my life. In the name of Jesus, my Lord and Shepherd, I pray. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth. When a man enters the sheep pen, he should use the gate. If he climbs in some other way, then he is a robber. He is trying to steal the sheep. But the man that takes care of the sheep enters through the gate. He is the shepherd. The man that guards the gate opens the gate for the shepherd. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. The shepherd calls his own sheep, using their names, and he leads them out. The shepherd brings all of his sheep out. Then he goes ahead of them and leads them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. But sheep will never follow a person they don't know. They will run away from that person, because they don't know his voice." Jesus told the people this story. But the people did not understand what the story meant. So Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth. I am the gate for the sheep. All the people that came before I came were thieves and robbers. The sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. The person that enters through me will be saved. That person will be able to come in and go out. He will find everything he needs. A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I came to give life—life that is full and good. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. The worker that is paid to keep the sheep is different from the shepherd. The paid worker does not own the sheep. So when the worker sees a wolf coming, he runs away and leaves the sheep alone. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. The man runs away because he is only a paid worker. He does not really care for the sheep. "I am the shepherd that cares for the sheep (people). I know my sheep like the Father knows me. And my sheep know me like I know the Father. I give my life for these sheep. I have other sheep too. They are not in this flock here. I must lead them also. They will listen to my voice. In the future there will be one flock and one shepherd. The Father loves me because I givemy life. I give my life so that I can get it back again. No person takes my life away from me. I give my own life freely. I have the right to give my life. And I have the right to get it back again. This is what the Father told me." Again the Jews did not agree with each other because of these things Jesus said. Many of these Jews said, "A demon has come into him and made him crazy. Why listen to him?" But other Jews said, "These things we are hearing are not coming from someone that is crazy with a demon . Can a demon heal the eyes of blind people? No!"
Related Scripture Readings
Paul went upstairs again. He divided the bread and ate. Paul spoke to them a long time. When he finished talking, it was early morning. Then Paul left. The people took the young man (Eutychus) home. He was alive, and the people were very much comforted. We sailed for the city of Assos. We went first, ahead of Paul. He planned to meet us in Assos and join us on the ship there. Paul told us to do this because he wanted to go to Assos by land. Later, we met Paul at Assos, and then he came on the ship with us. We all went to the city of Mitylene. The next day, we sailed away from Mitylene. We came to a place near the island of Chios. Then the next day, we sailed to the island of Samos. A day later, we came to the city of Miletus. Paul had already decided not to stop at Ephesus. He did not want to stay too long in Asia. He was hurrying because he wanted to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost if possible.
The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He lets me lie down in green pastures. He leads me by calm pools of water. He gives new strength to my soul for the good of his name. He leads me on paths of goodness, to show he is truly good. Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave, I will not be afraid of any danger. Why? Because you are with me, Lord. Your rod and staff comfort me. Lord, you prepared my table in front of my enemies. You poured oil on my head. My cup is full and spilling over. Goodness and mercy will be with me the rest of my life. And I will sit in the Lord's temple for a long, long time.
I pray that the God of peace will give you every good thing you need so that you can do the things he wants. God is the One who raised our Lord Jesus from death. He raised Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep. God raised Jesus because of his blood (death). His blood began the new agreement that continues forever. I pray that God will do the things in us that please him. I ask that he will do those things through Jesus Christ. To Jesus be glory forever. Amen.