Text: John 10:7-16; Psalm 100:3; Isaiah 53:6
Prop: a poster of Good Shepherd or a picture of sheep (click on thumbnail image to print larger image)
Summary: Jesus gives his life for his followers.
Today I want to tell you about sheep and the Good Shepherd. Sheep are beautiful creatures made by God. They need a shepherd to protect them from wild animals like wolves that want to eat them. Every now and then one of the sheep has his nose down to the ground, eating peacefully, and wanders away from the fold (the other sheep). Whenever this happens the shepherd uses his shepherd’s crook to guide the lost sheep back where he belongs. The crook is simply a long stick with a curved shape on one end that will fit around the sheep’s neck. The shepherd can shoo away wild animals that creep up on the fold with it. A good shepherd will defend his sheep from wild animals, but a bad shepherd will get scared and run away at the first sight of danger.
In the Bible people are compared to sheep many times. In Psalm 100:3 we read Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. People are like sheep in that we tend to wander away from God at times, wanting to do things our own way. God knows that we are not perfect, so he sent his Son Jesus to be our shepherd. Jesus took on all our sins or badness when he died on the cross for us.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
Jesus explained to his followers that he was a Good Shepherd. He came to protect us by giving his life for us. He did this so that we might enjoy life to its fullest and have the hope of living forever. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:10b-11) Jesus is our guide. He is always ready to lead us back on the path of living right and doing the right things. Sheep are gentle animals. The wool they grow is shorn and used to make beautiful garments. Jesus wants his followers to be gentle and meek as well. Our lives can be used to do works of kindness and mercy, love and generosity. God can weave these into a wonderful quilt of good works throughout our whole life. We can be thankful that Jesus has not left us alone, but is always protecting us like a Good Shepherd.
©1999 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.