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Before we jump into this… I’ll just tell ya that we have several “dings” in this story. They’re all very important, so listen carefully.
As Jesus walked among God’s people, His heart was compassionate toward them because He could see that they were sheep without a shepherd. Just like in Ezekiel’s time, there were people who were supposed to be leaders or shepherds, but they were NOT helping anyone.
One time Jesus said to those around, “If someone doesn’t come into the sheep pen through the door, but climbs in some other way, then they are a thief and a robber.
“But the person who comes in through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The sheep hear their shepherd’s voice. He calls his sheep by name and leads them out of the pen. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They’ll never follow a stranger. They’ll run away from the stranger, because they don’t recognize that voice.”
The people sitting around Jesus looked confused. They didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about. So He told them again, “I am the door for the sheep. All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, so the sheep didn’t listen to them. But I am the door and anyone who comes through Me will be saved. He’ll come in and go out, and find green grass to eat.”
Anyone who tries to get into God’s House, His sheep pen, through any other way but Jesus is in big trouble.
No one can come into the Family of God and the Life and the relationships of His Church, except through Jesus and His Life — His teachings, and the way He lived. So people who love God’s sheep will say, “Hey, pssst. Over here. Here’s the door. Come this way.”
But anyone who teaches people, or allows people, into God’s House any other way but through the teachings and examples of Jesus, then that person is a deceiver, a trickster. Don’t believe them. Jesus said those are the thieves… but they can’t fool Him. So don’t let them fool you either. We have to tell them, “HEY! GET OFF THAT WALL!”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. But I’ve come so that the sheep may have life to the fullest. I’m the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A person who is not a shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep runs away when he sees a wolf coming. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. The man runs away because it’s just his job. He doesn’t care about the sheep. He runs away because he loves his own life more than he loves the life of the sheep.” Booooo!
What if you saw a child running into the street right in front of a car? What would you do? Right! You’d yell, “STOP!” If we care about others, we will at least try to help them. And sin hurts people’s lives just as much or more than a car!
In many religious places, there are people who claim to be the leader or the shepherd. Maybe it’s their job or they get money for doing it. But anyone who won’t risk their life to help others… anyone who won’t stand up to the wolves… is not like Jesus and not a good shepherd.
This happens when we lose sight of our Heavenly Daddy’s Goal for us. If our goal is to have a meeting with a speech, music, and money collecting, then we’ll allow people’s lives, their marriages and children to be hurt by sin, and we won’t even notice.
BUT if our goal is to be those people who shine like the stars and who look more and more like Jesus every single day, then we will love people enough to take a chance and help them out of the devil’s traps of sin.
So a good leader is someone who focuses on helping the sheep… not by giving a good speech at a meeting, but by being there in the stillness of the morning dew, loving Daddy’s Flock and listening for the breaking twigs as the thief or the lion try to sneak up on the lambs.
Oh, that’s who I want to be, don’t you? One of those who are not only just as Saved as Jesus, but who are also FRAGRANT and FRUITFUL in Jesus — Fully and faithfully serving God’s Goals against the thief, the lion, the bear, the Goliath, and the Cains of our generation!
“I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus continued. “I know My sheep and My sheep know Me — just as the Father knows Me and I know My Father. And I give up My life for the sheep.”
You’ll find that there will be many times in life when you just aren’t sure what to do. But for those who let the Good Shepherd be their Lord… there is comfort in knowing what Jesus said: “I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me.”
His sheep… Listen. But this listening is not listening with the ears on the side of your head. It’s listening on the inside. Listening for a still, small voice that calls, “Walk this way. Over here. Follow Me. I’ll lead you where you want to go.”
And as we learn how to walk with Him in this way, it becomes ohhhhh so precious to us. Those who are His long for this walking with Him and listening more and more and more.
And when I’ve not been a perfect listener, my heart cries out to Him, “Holy Spirit, I’m sorry. I want to listen FOR You and TO You more than anything.”
At times the world, or my thoughts, or what I want… tries to get LOUD. Satan tries to trick and deceive and twist and confuse. But I remember what Jesus said, “I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me.” I belong to Him… so I… shhhhh… Quietness. I Listen for the Shepherd, on the inside.
“I have other sheep that aren’t in this pen yet. I must bring them too, and they will listen to My voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. That’s why the Father loves Me — because I lay down My life, so that I may take it back again. No one takes My life away from Me, but I willingly lay it down. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it back again. (That’s what My Father told Me to do.)”
After Jesus said this, the people listening disagreed. Some people said, “He’s crazy. Why do you listen to Him?” And others said, “How can He be crazy when He makes the blind see?!”
It was winter time and Jesus was walking around Solomon’s porch. Some of the religious leaders surrounded Him and said, “Just tell us right now. Are You the Shining Rescuer, or not?”
Jesus told them, “I already told you, but you don’t believe Me. I’m doing these things in My Father’s name and the stuff I’m doing tells you Who I am, but you don’t believe what you see because you are not My sheep.
“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them Forever-Life, and they’ll never die; no one will snatch them out of My hand because My Father, the greatest of all, has given them to Me; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. And My Father and I are one.”
Then the so-called leaders (the ones who called themselves “shepherds”) picked up rocks to throw at Jesus. But once again, He got away.
Do you remember what God had promised back with Ezekiel? God had promised, “I will set one Shepherd over them, and He will feed His sheep and be their Shepherd!” That day had come! This. Was. The Guy! Jesus, Yeshua, God’s Good Shepherd. He’d arrived, and He would protect and love and Lead His sheep like no other before.