Once again we were sitting together with Jesus with a crowd surrounding us. Jesus taught in parables which are simple stories that helped us understand him better. I enjoyed listening to Jesus. He’s firm but full of love and compassion. The story he shared today is a great example of his love.
Jesus shared a parable about the Good Shepherd and his sheep.
“Anyone who sneaks over a wall of a sheepfold instead of going through the gate is a robber. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd. The gate is opened for him and the sheep recognise his voice and they come to him. The shepherd knows each sheep by name. He gathers together the flock, walks ahead of them and they know his voice. Sheep won’t follow just anyone, they will run away from strangers because they don’t recognise their voice.”
I love sheep. My youngest brother is a shepherd, so I understood about how important it is for the shepherd to look after their sheep. I can come and visit and hold the new-born lambs, but the sheep don’t respond to my voice. Yet, when Moshe, my brother speaks, all the sheep come to him and follow him wherever he goes. He has to go in and out of a gate to get to the sheep and bring them back to safety.
People didn’t understand what the illustration of the shepherd had to do with Jesus or them so he explained the parable to them.
He said, “I am the gate for the sheep. People have come up to the gate as thieves and robbers trying to snatch the sheep away. The true sheep didn’t listen to them as they didn’t recognise who they were.
“I am the gate, safety and security for my sheep. Those who come through me will be saved. The sheep who come to me will go freely in and find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and to kill. My purpose is to give you abundant life, life to the full.”
How marvellous!! Jesus is my safety and security. If I stay with him and trust him, I will continue to have abundant life. I already know I have this as he has already changed my life so much. I do not want any thief to try and steal this joy away from me.
Jesus continued by saying, “I am the Good Shepherd. The shepherd gives his life for the sheep. A hired person will run away if he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. The wolf comes, attacks and scatters the flock. The worker runs away as he is only working for money. He doesn’t care about the sheep.
“I am the Good Shepherd. I have an intimate relationship with my sheep and they with me just as I have the same relationship with my Father and he with me. I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not in this sheepfold and I must bring them too. They will listen also and be one flock with one Shepherd. The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it up again. No none can take my life, I give it up voluntarily. I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also take it up again. This is what the Father commanded.”
I love being a friend with Jesus. However, right now there is a part of me that is grieved again. Jesus told us about his death before. I put it behind me until now. I don’t want to think about him leaving us and dying. I want to stay with him forever. He says he will take his life up again and be raised up from the grave. I have heard about him bringing the little girl back to life, but how is he going to raise himself up once he’s dead? I don’t want to lose the best person in my life.
My thoughts were distracted by the people talking around me. They were divided in their opinions about Jesus. Some thought he was out of his mind and or demon possessed. They thought we should not listen to him.
Others said “It doesn’t sound like he is possessed. Can a demon heal and open blind eyes?”
I believe Jesus is who he says he is. He is the Messiah, the Son of God. The sad thing is I cannot tell the people this. I wish they would just listen, truly listen to Jesus and open their hearts to him. Oh, how my heart grieves for their souls.
*A shepherd is one who tends, leads, guides, loves, feeds and protects a flock.
*Abundant life- is a rich, satisfying life that is superabundant, overflowing, excessive, over and above, extraordinary, profuse and more than sufficient.
*God wants us to be happy and prosperous. Jesus declares His intention to restore to man what God intended for us and block the enemy’s intent to stop us from receiving this abundant life.
*I AM the Good Shepherd- I am, I have been, I always will be I am Yahweh.
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