Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Good Shepherd

"The sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice."

Hello all,

Well, it's been a week since I've officially started blogging. I can honestly say that I've been feeling truly graced by God in that time. I'm reading the Bible a lot more than I ever have and I am communicating with other Christians from all over the world. I have a feeling that there are readers out there whom God is reaching or will reach through me. Praise Him! I feel a calling that this is truly what God wants me to do and I have to respond.

I have a confession to make. When I read Scripture (and believe me, there's a lot of it that I haven't read yet), I look at it with a jaundiced eye. I think most of us do that. It's inherent with our humanity.

When I read Scripture, I go in with the following premise:

1. God loves you
2. He wants you to love Him back

Everything I read in Scripture is colored by that assumption. I'm reasonably sure that this is the message of the early Christians. It's the message when they decided what books were considered Scripture. And it's the message of John Paul and Benedict.

I intended to write on something totally different tonight; however, I feel as if God is pushing me in a different direction. In one of my comments yesterday, a fellow Christian pointed me towards John 10. Before his comment, I'd read it but never really reflected on it. So tonight, I want to share some of my reflections on John 10: 1-17 and also on Matthew 25: 33-46.

What does it mean to be a sheep?

In case you don't know, I'm from Detroit. There aren't too many sheep around here and my knowledge about them is somewhat limited. If you asked me about cars, I could offer an opinion. Sheep...not so much.

What I think I know about sheep is that they are very easily led. They will follow the shepherd to wherever he goes. Why? Because he's their shepherd and he's calling them.

That's what God wants from us. He wants that kind of blind obedience. He wants us to follow Him and do His will and become His sheep. What's in it for us? He will lay down His life for us because His concern for us is so great.

Contrast that to Matthew 25: 33 where God will separate the sheep from the goats. Why does Jesus use sheep and goats?

Again, I'm not a goatherder and really don't know much about goats but what I think I know about them is that they are very stubborn and when the goatherder calls them, they probably don't listen all that well.

God wants us to be sheep. Who are the goats? From the way that I see it, they're the ones who don't have the blind obedience to Him. i.e. They are not following His will and thus not loving Him.

And from my perspective, he's not talking about non-Christians. The sheep and the goats know who He is and call Him Lord. And interestingly enough, He's not talking about loving God.

He's talking about loving one another. He says that it's not enough just to love God. We need to do more than minister to God. We need to love all people. Not just Christians either. He's talking about the very worst people on the face of the earth (There probably aren't too many righteous in prison). We need to love them. Care for them. Clothe them. Feed them.


Because they are God's people too. They may not be saved by God (that's God's judgement not ours) but they are made in the image and likeness of God and we need to know that. Because if we treat them like dirt, we treat God like dirt.

And we lose our righteousness.


Modern Day Magi said...

There is that social concience i was talking about last time. Great stuff. I dont know if your assumption that the goats are christians too but it is interesting. as christians we DO need to bear fruit and follow the lead of Jesus who cared about the sick, the poor, the outcast and downtrodden. Our salvation may not rest on it but our being an affective witness for Jesus does.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” - St. Francis of Assisi

TheDen said...

You just used one of my favorite quotes. I actually kinda paraphrased it in one of my previous posts.

If a person is not actively living a Christian life, can they truly be called Christians? Honestly, I don't know many Protestants so I think of things from a Catholic perspective and what I said in my post refers more to my thinking about some fellow Catholics than Protestants (Although, I would imagine it's probably the same in the Protestant churches.)

There are a lot of Catholics out there who are very uncomfortable with the teachings of the Church. They think, "Well, that may be what the Church teaches but I don't agree with it. Besides, I go to Church and I love God..." Do they really love Him?

If God commands us to do something--and we reject it, is that Christian? Why do we reject it? For me, it's been (and sadly still is today) because I'm putting myself in front of God because God doesn't fit my lifestyle. I think it's the same for others although I can't speak for them.

Is that what Christ did?

In Gethsemane, He was so afraid of what He had to do that He sweated blood for He knew the suffering that was to come. And yet He followed God's will obediently. It's not what He wanted, it's what His Father wanted. "If you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." (Luke 22: 42) I'm very sure that's what God wants from us.

I think you don't disagree with me on this.

Peace, my brother.

Modern Day Magi said...

see my post this is basically my stance on salvation by Grace alone.
That said, to live a healthy christian life we must nurture our faith and produce fruit. if not we stagnate and become rotten, we lose our 'saltyness'.
i dont know if we can lose our salvation or if a 'back-slidden' christian is one who was never saved in the first place. But we can definantly be a better witness for Jesus if we live a Christ-like life, showing the world through our actions. A hypocritical christian who shares Jesus with their words but not their actions is more of a detriment to the body of christ than a christian who does not share their faith through words at all.
what i do know is that without Jesus even the best works wont get you into heaven while with Jesus the works dont matter.

I love that quote too, if more christians lived like that (me included) we would all be better witnesses.

take care theden and God bless.

Daniel said...


I like how you said this.

"When I read Scripture, I go in with the following premise:

1. God loves you
2. He wants you to love Him back"

Good thoughts. The point of Scripture is to draw us in a relationship with God.