“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (NRSV)
Have you thought about how much Jesus loved His disciples? He probably did not pay much attention to what they eat and what they wear.
Even so, Jesus wanted to assure of His love for the people. For this, He used another analogy, a shepherd and sheep, to show His love, which is very similar to what His kingdom looks.
In the O.T., many prophets used a similar analogy to deliver God’s messages to the people. Isaiah 40:11, “He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.”
Have you seen a movie, “Heidi?” It shows the beautiful scenery of Alps. We love the video and watch it probably every year on a snowy day in winter. It shows how love can change people’s heart. In the film, Heidi and her friend, shepherd Peter, named every goat, and always take care of every goat one by one. Just like our Lord in the Bible, Peter holds and carries it in his arm when any of them gets hurt or sick.
They talk to the goats and share things in their mind even though they could not understand. They share a life of joy and sorrow together. In this relationship, when Peter calls his goats, they all totally trust and follow Peter as he leads.
Likewise, Father God always takes care and shows His love for His people by sending Jesus Christ as a true shepherd so that we can understand how much God loves us. We, like sheep, need to trust and follow the Lord wholeheartedly. I think King David did the best job of showing this loving and caring relationship in Psalm 23. I am sure we all know this so well.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. … Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Just like King David believed, Jesus called Himself not only a good shepherd but also the gate of the sheep in today’s scripture.
Let’s meditate how it applies to us.
1. As we know, thieves and robbers try to steal and destroy our soul
How many souls does each person have? Yes. Only one!
We Christian believes that God created the human soul for human. We cannot exchange the human soul with the animals. Our soul is the real identity of each person because God puts the soul into our body as we are conceived. That is why abortion is not a choice.
Since our soul is so precious, we should not neglect, lose, or allow it damaged by wearing the Armor of God. What would you do if you know someone who is a lost soul or has a damaged soul?
Satan always tries to steal the soul and destroy it so that he can separate us from the Lord Jesus. Because of Satan’s evil work, there are so many lost and wounded souls.
www.urbandictionary.com/ has an excellent definition.
A lost soul has had a tragedy, so devastating, they find it impossible to give their heart to anyone. This sorrow has betrayed their devotion to trust, and they have withdrawn.
This is what Jesus is talking about. Jesus Christ came to protect and guide our soul and to be God’s children. There are so many false doctrines, theories, and religions which are thieves and robbers who are controlled by the devil.
As we know, sheep are safe and well when they are under the care of a good shepherd. Likewise, we can be safe and enjoy the abundant life in the care of the true and good shepherds, Jesus Christ. When He teaches, we know that is the truth. When he calls, we can hear His voice.
2. Father God is the gatekeeper so that He allows only the good shepherd and sheep can pass through the gate and enter the sheep pen.
Have you tried to find the way out of a maze? There is only one way out. It is very confusing because all directions look the same. You are able to find the right way out only through the trials and errors. If the maze is big, we have to go through many more trials and errors to find the right direction.
Our life is like a huge maze to the eternal heaven. At first, it is not too hard because our parents help us. As we get older, we have to find the best way and right way by ourselves. If so, what is the best way to get there?
Jesus is the gate of Heaven for us. He is the way, the truth, and the life. By believing Jesus as the Lord and Savior, we can enter the gate and have eternal joy and peace.
3. Jesus Christ is the true shepherd whom we want to follow because He leads us to have true joy and peace, which are incompatible to the pleasure that we get from anywhere else.
Jesus lived a different life. He was born to give his life for us. He brought heavenly things and shared that with us. Jesus prayed to Father God, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am…” (John 17:24)
We all remember God so loved us so that He sent Jesus. Now, Jesus is telling the people how much He loves them. Jesus came to us to call us to His eternal pasture.
Jesus said, “They know my voice.” Do we know His voice and follow him? If we don’t, how could we follow Him? His voice is the Word of God. As long as we read it, we don’t get lost. Amen.
According to Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way.” Anyone who don’t trust the love of God, they would get away from it. That is sin, which leads us get lost.
Again, www.urbandictionary.com/ says, “A lost soul is somebody who has no direction in his/her life… often a lost soul will long for someone to understand him/her.”
God does not want us to be a lost soul so that the LORD has laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all and had Him died on the cross for us. Jesus came to us not to condemn the lost soul, but call us to His eternal kingdom by taking our sins on His body.
As I said, there are so many false doctrines and trends of this generation. They all sound great at first. However, eventually, it leads us confusion and leads us get away from the love of God. It is so sad.
Let’s open our ear and our heart to hear His voice, which leads us to eternal joy and life. Jesus knows us because He is the true shepherd. We also know Him and trust Him more than anything in the world.
If we know His voice, we must share the love of Christ to other lost souls. That is our mission in this world. How could we do that?
“Only a pure and patient heart can accommodate a lost soul, but it is ultimately only the lost soul who can pull themselves out from under their dark world, and learn to let go.” ( www.urbandictionary.com/ )
As we are generous to the lost souls, we also share the eternal life and joy in Christ. If we give water to the thirsty and not telling them the love of Christ, the person will thank to you, not to the Lord. If so, what good is it? Amen.