Alpha Ministries, Inc
|Posted on 11 March, 2021 at 13:15|
John records Jesus’ parable of the good shepherd in the 10th chapter of his gospel. The context of this passage makes it clear that Jesus was explaining to the religious leaders of his day why people were following him rather than them. By this time in his short ministry on earth Jesus had great multitudes following him around and ignoring the religious leaders and all their commandments. In short, they were losing their power over the people and trying to understand why.
In his parable Jesus contrasted the shepherd with a thief or robber by stating that the shepherd has an intimate relationship with his sheep, calling them by name, and they were able to recognize his voice. When the shepherd leads his sheep they follow him because they know his voice. But they will not follow a stranger whose voice they don’t recognize. In essence he told these leaders politely that the people were following him because they recognized his voice as their rightful shepherd.
John goes on to tell us that no one, especially the leaders, understood what he meant, and Jesus explained the difference more intensely. He stated that he was the “door” meaning the shepherd who protected the sheep and that all others before him were “thieves and robbers” that the sheep did not hear. Further, he told them that he alone provided the salvation, freedom, and life for the sheep and that the thief sought only to steal, kill, and destroy the sheep. Finally, he said he had come to give the sheep life and that they might have it more abundantly since as the good shepherd he would lay down his life for the sheep. Finally, he contrasted his care for the sheep with the “hireling” who was only in it for himself.
After that explanation John tells us there was a division among the Jews. Many, no doubt the leaders who were jealous of his following, said he was demon possessed and had gone crazy. Soon after they asked him again in the Temple to tell them plainly whether he was the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus said he had already told them, and they didn’t believe him. Then he explained they believed not because they were not his sheep and once again told them, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”. The argument ended when the leaders were so enraged by his answer they picked up rocks to stone him to death right on the spot.
In the Spirit realm things haven’t change for the better over the last two millennia. Religious leaders become insanely jealous when people say they recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow him rather than whatever religious system is in place. In our secular culture today the “religion” of progressive liberal politics seeks to care for the needs of the people in much the same way as the “hirelings” cared for the sheep in Jesus’ parable. Rather than recognizing the voice of the Good Shepherd and willingly serve the sheep they care for they seek to “fleece” the flock for their own gain.
Now more than ever it is time for the sheep to listen for and recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd. Although the hirelings are making a lot of noise seeking attention for their own agenda, the still, small voice of the Good Shepherd cannot be overcome in his sheep. The hireling’s voice will always incite fear, guilt, and pride whereas the Good Shepherd’s voice will generate faith, hope, and love. The hireling is a thief who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy while the Good Shepherd comes to give abundant life.