Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Good Shepherd

What's the difference between a middle Eastern shepherd, and a shepherd in Ulster?

No, this isn't a horrible joke... it's a look at the different ways of working, and an insight into John 10! Maybe I'm going back a few years, but a popular programme on tv was 'One Man and His Dog', in which shepherds used their sheepdogs to round up the sheep, and drive them from behind into the pen.

But the middle Eastern shepherd walks in front of the sheep, and the sheep follow him. Or in the words of Jesus: 'The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.' (John 10: 2-4).

Jesus described himself as 'the Good Shepherd', who lays down his life for his sheep. He knows his sheep by name, and gave his life for them. The challenge is - do you know the Good Shepherd? Can you say with the Psalmist 'The Lord is my shepherd'? (Psalm 23:1) Do you know Jesus' voice, and are you following him? Because there is only blessing from doing so. As Jesus himself said: 'I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.' (John 10:10)

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