October 23rd 2010

The Shepherd Of Our Faith

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.”
John 10:1 (NIV UK)

To illustrate a point Jesus often told stories.

In John 10 he wants his disciples to understand a key point, and he used a pastoral parable to make it. Imagine sheep in their enclosure. The only legitimate way in is through the gate. Any who enter another way are untrustworthy and their intent is to rob and cause havoc. The sheep should respond only to the shepherd’s voice in order to remain safe. Trust the shepherd.

“Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them” (10:6). The disciples did not follow what Jesus meant so he had to spell it out.

“I tell you the truth”, Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep” (10:7). There is no other door of faith into the Kingdom of God. Beware of anyone who tries to point to another way. All they want to do is rob you of your faith. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (10:10). Jesus not only is the gate, but he is also “the good shepherd” who “lays down his life for the sheep” (10:11).

What relevance does this have for us today? We live in a society where crime, including theft, is on the increase. Just as we need to be our guard physically, so we need to be alert spiritually. There are people who would rob us of our faith. They argue against the teachings of our Saviour, and seek to undermine his word. Their desire is to empty the pen completely, to take out all of the sheep.

Thank God that Jesus is the good shepherd who protects us from spiritual wolves and thieves. We can trust him to surround us with his constant love.

When Jesus had explained all these things, many said that he was “raving mad. Why listen to him?” (10:20). Thus they began immediately their assault on faith.

Keep your faith. Protect it. Don’t let dissenters rob you of it. Turn only to the good shepherd.

Eternal God, thank you that Jesus is the good shepherd of my faith, and help me to hear his voice only and to trust in him alone. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson

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