The Good Shepherd’s Management Plan
By Kay Schultz
Recently I was comparing Psalm 23 with John 10. So many similarities – and so much to know about sheep and the shepherd. Then the thought came to me that David was a shepherd so he knew a thing or two about shepherding when he wrote Psalm 23. But Jesus was never a tender of sheep so why the leap to calling himself the Good Shepherd in John 10?
Jesus really liked fishermen. He even said He would turn his fishermen-disciples into fishers of men. So why didn’t he call himself the Good Fisherman instead of the Good Shepherd? Inquiring minds want to know!
Jesus uses many natural phenomena to explain supernatural truth in His parables. Think sheep, wheat, soil and grapes. Sheep were more like humans and thus we could more easily grasp the spiritual truth of the parable of the Good Shepherd. After studying the parable I saw that Jesus was laying out a plan for us – with clear steps to follow.
Here, then, is Jesus’ course on “Sheep Management” as outlined in John 10. The Plan:
First, enter the door. This is His salvation call. He is the door, the only door. The law is not the door. Nor is Buddha, Confusius, Mohammed or any other path. If you enter Christ’s door, you are now a saved sheep. You will have abundant and eternal life. And you will have all you need to be delivered from sin, guilt and condemnation! But that’s only the first step.
Second, get in the flock. Sheep assemble instinctively and want to hang around other sheep. Jesus protects those sheep and would never abandon them as some hired hand might do (John 10:12-13). Indeed, Jesus lays down His life for his sheep. His relationship with His Father gives Jesus His authority and power. In the same way, our power and authority are in our relationship with Jesus.
Third, get known by the Good Shepherd. As John 10: 14 says: “I know my sheep, and am known by my own.” That is a relationship so personal that the Shepherd would lay down His life for them. Hang around the Shepherd. Get up close and personal. Spend time in fellowship with His Word. Feel His presence. In verse 3, Jesus says He calls His own by name. So, ask yourself this question: does He know my name?
Fourth, allow Jesus to shepherd. If you believe, you are a true sheep (John 10: 26-27). And once you believe, yielding to the Shepherd is not a struggle. Jesus says His sheep listen and follow Him. Sheep aren’t the brightest animals, but they are smart enough to be yielded and obedient to their Shepherd. And , they are smart enough to see the benefits the Good Shepherd provides: life full and abundant! Not just eternal life but full life now. Are you having “full” now?
You might ask how do I get from just being a saved sheep to a “full, abundant till-it-overflows” life sheep? By moving from accepting Jesus as the Door of Salvation to making Him Lord Shepherd. It’s our choice! The abundant life flows from this choice.
Fifth, know the voice of the Good Shepherd. John 10:4 says: sheep follow because they know His voice. Verbs “listen” and “follow” are present tense, denoting repeated or habitual activity. These sheep are not the Sunday, or even the Sunday and Wednesday “drop by” sheep. They live every minute listening and following. They know where to go and which way is best by His Voice. They know where the blessings are by His Voice. They know where the snares and traps are by His Voice. What is His Voice – His Word.
Sixth, is to know the refreshing rest of the Good Shepherd (John 10: 28-29). Learn that yielding to the Shepherd produces rest from worry, from self-protection, from enemies, from striving – trying to earn salvation or God’s love, or a place in the Kingdom. Rather, enjoy tender green pastures to rest from fears and torments. Find peace in the Good Shepherd’s care.
Jesus said “I Am” not I have. If He said “I have,” then we should seek things that He has to give us. BUT, He said “I Am.” All you need is right here in Me. I’m it!
If you’re lost — He’s your Saviour
If you’re sick — He’s your Healer
If you’re oppressed — He’s your Deliverer
If you’re confused – He’s your Peace