The Shepherd and His Sheep
1Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, the person who does not enter the sheepfold
by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The one who
enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The one who guards the door
opens it for him. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his
own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he brings all his sheep out, he
goes ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5But they
will never follow a stranger. They will run away from him because they don’t
know his voice.” 6Jesus told the people this story, but they did not understand
what it meant.
Jesus Is the Good Shepherd
7So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the door for the sheep. 8All the
people who came before me were thieves and robbers. The sheep did not listen to
them. 9I am the door, and the person who enters through me will be saved and
will be able to come in and go out and find pasture. 10A thief comes to steal and
kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.
11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
12The worker who is paid to keep the sheep is different from the shepherd who
owns them. When the worker sees a wolf coming, he runs away and leaves the
sheep alone. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13The man runs
away because he is only a paid worker and does not really care about the sheep.
14-15“I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, as the Father knows me. And
my sheep know me, as I know the Father. I give my life for the sheep. 16I have
other sheep that are not in this flock, and I must bring them also. They will listen
to my voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17The Father loves me
because I give my life so that I can take it back again. 18No one takes it away
from me; I give my own life freely. I have the right to give my life, and I have the
right to take it back. This is what my Father commanded me to do.”
19Again the Jews did not agree with each other because of these words of
Jesus. 20Many of them said, “A demon has come into him and made him crazy.
Why listen to him?”
21But others said, “A man who is crazy with a demon does not say things like
this. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Jesus Is Rejected
22The time came for the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and
Jesus was walking in the Temple in Solomon’s Porch. 24The Jews gathered
around him and said, “How long will you make us wonder about you? If you are
the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25Jesus answered, “I told you already, but you did not believe. The miracles I
do in my Father’s name show who I am. 26But you don’t believe, because you are
not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28I give them eternal life, and they will never die, and no one can steal them out
of my hand. 29My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all, and no
person can steal my sheep out of my Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”
31Again the Jews picked up stones to kill Jesus. 32But he said to them, “I have
done many good works from the Father. Which of these good works are you
killing me for?”
33The Jews answered, “We are not killing you because of any good work you
did, but because you speak against God. You are only a human, but you say you
are the same as God!”
34Jesus answered, “It is written in your law that God said, ‘I said, you are
gods.’ 35This Scripture called those people gods who received God’s message,
and Scripture is always true. 36So why do you say that I speak against God
because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? I am the one God chose and sent into the
world. 37If I don’t do what my Father does, then don’t believe me. 38But if I do
what my Father does, even though you don’t believe in me, believe what I do.
Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the
39They tried to take Jesus again, but he escaped from them.
40Then he went back across the Jordan River to the place where John had first
baptized. Jesus stayed there, 41and many people came to him and said, “John
never did a miracle, but everything John said about this man is true.” 42And in
that place many believed in Jesus.
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
The parable of the Good Shepherd described Jesus' role perfectly. Unlike a hired worker, Jesus, through love and affection, offered to lay down his life for his flock. Believers trust and know him.
Christ is our faithful shepherd. Put your trust in him.
By the end of July 1941, Auschwitz was working like a well organized killing machine, and the Nazis congratulated themselves on their efficiency....
About the only problem was the occasional prisoner from the work side of the camp who would figure out a way to escape. When these escapees were caught, as they usually were, they would be hung with special nooses that slowly choked out their miserable lives-a grave warning to others who might be tempted to try.
Then one July night as the frogs and insects in the marshy land surrounding the camp began their evening chorus, the air was suddenly filled with the baying of dogs, the curses of soldiers, and the roar of motorcycles. A man had escaped from Barracks 14.
The next morning there was a peculiar tension as the ranks of phantom-thin prisoners lined up for morning roll call in the central square, their eyes on the large gallows before them. But there was no condemned man standing there, his hands bound behind him, his face bloodied from blows and dog bites. That meant the prisoner had made it out of Auschwitz. And that meant death for some of those who remained....
Soon there were ten men -- ten numbers neatly listed on the death roll.
The chosen groaned, sweating with fear. "My poor wife!" one man cried. "My poor children! What will they do?”...
Suddenly there was a commotion in the ranks. A prisoner had broken out of line, calling for the commandant....
The prisoners gasped. It was their beloved Father Kolbe, the priest who shared his last crust, who comforted the dying, who heard their confessions and nourished their souls.
The frail priest spoke softly, even calmly, to the Nazi butcher. "I would like to die in place of one of the men you condemned.”...
"Why?" snapped the commandant....
"I am an old man, sir, and good for nothing. My life will serve no purpose."
His ploy triggered the response Kolbe wanted. "In whose place do you want to die?" asked Fritsch.
"For that one," Kolbe responded, pointing to the weeping prisoner who had bemoaned his wife and children....
Kolbe's place on the death ledger was set....
Kolbe wasn't looking for gratitude. If he was to lay down his life for another, the fulfillment had to be in the act of obedience itself. The joy must be found in submitting his small will to the will of One more grand....
In the basement the ten men were herded into a dark, windowless cell.
As the hours and days passed, however, the camp became aware of something extraordinary happening in the death cell. ... Coming from the death box, those outside heard the faint sounds of singing. For this time the prisoners had a shepherd to gently lead them through the shadows of the valley of death, pointing them to the Great Shepherd. And perhaps for that reason Father Kolbe was the last to die....
For those with eyes to see, it points to the Man who laid down His life for His friends, on the cross. To the only King in history who died for His subjects. (From The Body by Charles Colson)
Think of people who are greatly trusted. How many of them would you entrust with your life? Or your family's life? Do you have the same trust in Christ as your shepherd? Put your self-centered wishes behind and learn what Christ's wishes are for you.
Shepherd - Genesis 48:15; Psalm 23.