20th October 2012

Follow Me!

“And He said to them, ‘Come after Me [as disciples—letting Me be your Guide], follow me, and I will make you fishers of men!’”
Matthew 4:19 (AMP) 

In the verse above, Jesus urges the fishermen he met to follow him.  The word in Greek means to “follow after” and so, following is the beginning and the end of being a disciple of Jesus. Following for us Christians is a lifelong calling and everything we do in this life is measured by it. 

In the gospel of John chapter 10, Jesus calls himself ‘The Good Shepherd’ and, of course, all those listening would have readily understood this teaching. Because in first century Palestine, and I guess even today, the role of the shepherd and his responsibility to his sheep is understood by everyone. A shepherd knows each of his sheep by name, and lovingly and continually watches over them, providing for their every need. He stands between them and any danger that arises  Each sheep receives his personal and loving care. These woolly creatures, even though they are not very bright, soon come to understand that they are totally dependant on him. No wonder they follow him! 

This illustrates our personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd.  Just as eastern shepherds lead their sheep forth every day, our Good Shepherd leads us “Day by Day” (sorry, couldn’t resist that!). Our path may be beside the still waters or through the valley of the shadow of death but yea, surely our Good Shepherd is The Way.  Our path may not be of our choosing, it may be a long way out of our comfort zone, but he guides our every step if we will follow Him. 

When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks before them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. They will never, on any account, follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers or recognise their call. (John 10:4-5). Middle Eastern shepherds would call their sheep by singing a little song or playing a tune on a shepherd’s pipe, and his faithful sheep would follow after him with great assurance, totally content and happy to be with him.

As someone once observed; “The footprint of the obedient sheep is always found in the larger footprint of the Shepherd!” 

Our Great Shepherd, thank you for your love, thank you for your concern, thank you for leading us in paths of righteousness for your Name’s sake.

Study by Cliff Neill

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