A Note from Pastor Rall: The Good Shepherd

The 4th Sunday of Easter is always known as Good Shepherd Sunday, so the Gospel readings for those Sundays is always focus on John 10, Jesus’ discourse on the Good Shepherd.  Our text for this Sunday (John 10:1-10), centers on the contrast between Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and other teachers (or shepherds) who come only to steal and kill and destroy.

One problem of course with understanding Jesus’ words about the Good Shepherd is that very few people today have much experience with sheep and shepherds.  It is a familiar metaphor in the Scriptures that goes all the way back to Psalm 23, which is not only well-known to Christians, but a favorite for many.  However, even the disciples, who had grown up in a culture where sheep and goats were a part of everyday life, “did not understand what He was saying to them”.

Maybe the most important thing for us to understand about sheep (and shepherds) is that sheep are extremely vulnerable, weak, pretty much defenseless, and easily led astray.  If the Lord chose to compare us as His people to sheep, it is not a very flattering picture of how we respond to the many voices around us.

Jesus says that His sheep know His voice and they follow Him.  But there are many false and deceptive voices that we might hear and unless we can clearly distinguish the truth from what is false, we are vulnerable to being deceived and led astray.  The media, especially radio and television is full of false teachers, and although their message may be attractive and polished it is deadly to those who follow it.  This past week we have had visitors from Papua New Guinea staying with us.  They also are plagued with false teachers who pervert the Gospel into Law and deceive the sheep.  The best defense we can muster is to know well the voice of the Good Shepherd, which is the Word of God.  We can also continue to train and equip faithful under-shepherds such as pastors and teachers who can guide us into the truth and confirm in us that truth so that what is false and deceptive will immediately be apparent to us.  He, the Good Shepherd, came that we might have life and have it abundantly.  Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

Pastor Rall