I am the good shepherd

I am the good shepherd……………………………………….. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

In this famous discourse recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 10, Jesus likens himself to a shepherd and people to sheep.

It says a great deal.

True believers know when Jesus speaks to them – and he does. And they know his ‘voice’ is quite different from any other. Those who belong to Jesus follow after him, that is they do as he says.

They know what God wants and they respond to it.

Now this is not an audible voice, nor is it some strange form of communication. It is certainly not voices in the head associated with madness.

The Christian understands what God says to him or her via the normal sense of knowing which is in us all.

But in the unbeliever that sense of knowing is limited to a conscience, and a conscience which can all too easily become calloused and hard against God’s norms.

In the Christian that conscious awareness has been heightened by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Knowing what God wants is simply there in the conscious mind.

And that is verified when the enlivened conscience causes a person to think and act in accordance with the teaching of Jesus and his apostles as recorded in the New Testament of the Bible.

There is nothing magical or mysterious about this. Nor is there anything sensational, or emotional here.

It is a simple understanding.  Just as I understand that 1 + 1 = 2 so my mind perceives and knows that Jesus is God,  and that his teaching is to be obeyed – albeit there may be struggles and clashes when self centredness is challenged.

Personally I find revivalist preaching disturbing. The true believer does not need to be harangued or pushed. Challenged yes; but challenged by means of emotional appeals or being made to feel inadequate or guilty, certainly not.

There is no salesmanship with God.

When did Jesus ever act like a salesman ?


He taught and he explained. He spoke in parables and parallels,  as here. He likens himself to a shepherd and people to sheep. The sheep who belong to him follow him – they are not driven.

In those days and for centuries after, people had shepherds and sheep in their daily lives. They were well acquainted with both, which is why Jesus uses the analogy – because it explains spiritual truth in terms of what they already know.

In Biblical times, shepherds would often put their sheep together in a common pen with a doorkeeper. They themselves themselves would sleep somewhere nearby, even by the pen itself.

Come morning, shepherds would in turn call out their sheep from the common pen. The sheep would respond to the familiar voice of their own shepherd.  Sheep would not follow a shepherd whose voice they did not recognise.  Sheep would remain until they heard the voice of their own shepherd.

Sheep knew that their own shepherd would protect them, that he would watch over them, that he would lead them to good pasture to feed and to drink. That he would fend off the vicious wolves.

The sheep were secure. And the sheep were owned. Yet they were not forced to follow; they did so of their own awareness as to which person was their shepherd.

Which brings us to security.

In this section of John chapter 10 cited above, there is an explicit and incontrovertible statement that the Father gave certain sheep [people] to the Son, Jesus, and that they are forever his.

There is a certainty and a security founded upon God’s choice and God’s all powerful protection.

These are powerful words  – and they are controversial words for theologians.

But I am not a theologian – for good reason – but a speaker of God’s truth and grace.

And Jesus is here very explicit.

There are sheep –  ie human beings – whom the Father has chosen and given to the Son.  They are his forever, and no-one and nothing can change that; no-one and nothing can disturb them.

There is tremendous security here. Eternal security because people – like sheep – are so easily frightened or worried.

But Jesus Christ assures us with eternal security.

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

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