The Mark of a Good Shepherd
Text: “I am the good shepherd: The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”. John 10:11
Jesus discourse on Good Shepherd was probably at instance of the information reaching Him that the Pharisees and elders of Israel had cast out of the synagogue the blind man He restored his sight. The Pharisees and elders of Israel who regarded themselves as shepherds of God’s people failed to appreciate God for a sheep in their flock whose sight was restored after many years of blindness. All they could do was to cast him out of the synagogue for proclaiming Jesus as the one who restored his sight. Casting him out of the Synagogue was a way of disowning him as a member of the synagogue thereby preventing him from hearing the word of God (John 19:1-end).
To Jesus, a shepherd is by God’s appointment, called and sent with sole responsibility to care for the sheep committed to his care. He is to provide good pasture for them to feed and a good fold to protect them from their enemies as well to heal all their diseases; restore their souls when they stray from him; to watch over them at night seasons, lest any hurt come to them. It is also the shepherd’s responsibility that none of the sheep is lost. (Psalm23; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23; Gen. 49:24)
In addition, a good shepherd gives his life for the sheep as David did for the sake of his father’s flock. This, Jesus also did for the flock given to Him by God. He voluntarily gave his life as ransom, He died that the people of God might have life and have it abundantly.
In contrary to a good shepherd is hireling who the sheep are not his own, who had not been appointed or called by God but take up shepherding for reasons of personal gains. Such abuses the flock and abandon their when there is danger (Ezekiel 34 ). The worst is the thief, who pretends as shepherd and whose motive is to steal the sheep for his own gain. Such does not come by the right door (not called) his aim is to steal the flock as Absalom stole the hearts of people from David to subject them to himself and lord over them. (This is evident in our generation with some pastors teaching wrong doctrines to win the heart of the people through which they enslave and pauperise them for their own enrichment).
Jesus is the Good Shepherd as we can see in Him the qualities and mark of a good shepherd. He was appointed and commissioned by God. He lived for the flock and gave His life for its salvation. Then question for everyone to answer is:’are you in the flock of God?’ How do you know? Christ said in John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of my hand” If you are a true follower of Christ you will continually hear his voice as He speaks through the Bible and you will follow and live by His words. Whose voice you listen to is your master. If you don’t listen to Christian and do His will you are not a sheep of His flock.
As Jesus is our Great Shepherd, we are also sub-shepherd under Him. How then do we shepherd? Are we like Christ or are we simply an hireling?