“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11)
A young woman, lured by a businessman, went missing in Britain – and a nationwide hunt went up for her. Eventually she was found in a confused state at Basingstoke railway station. Interestingly she told the press, “I didn’t know I was lost until I was found.”
This is the unknowing spiritual state of many who are far from God. Christ has come for them – and he is the only ‘shepherd’ who can both find and lead them in a safe direction. Many leaders in the past could only be described as ‘shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture” (Jeremiah 23:1) We can identify such shepherds today – even within the Church. In Jesus’ time it was the Pharisees who were the ‘thieves and robbers’ described in John chapter 10. They were no more than ‘hired hands,’ who – at the first sign of trouble – were up and away.
The ‘good’ Shepherd gives protection, direction and satisfaction to God’s flock. He knows each one of the flock by name – and they know Him well enough to recognise and trust His voice; never that of a ‘stranger’ – be it from whatever background.
In our family we knew this as young children, growing up on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya. We got to know Frances Ridley Havergal’s hymn, ‘God will take care of you.’ Here is the ‘night-time’ verse:
God will take care of you; all through the night
Jesus the Shepherd, His little one keeps;
Darkness to Him is the same as the light;
He never slumbers and He never sleeps.
Has there ever been any belief-system in the world which got anywhere near thinking of its leader as a good shepherd, who knows and cares for his followers personally – even to the extent of laying down his life? Speak to this one – as YOUR Shepherd – at this very moment!