"I Know My Sheep"
Listen to Jesus Not the Hired Hand
Scripture Reading: John 10: 1-18
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away - and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10: 11-15
Perhaps one of the most endearing images of Christ is the image of the "Good Shepherd." It is a comforting image for us to see because the picture coveys the loving and caring qualities of Christ. We know that we will be cared for when we trust Jesus with our lives because Jesus has the authority to say that He is the "good shepherd." This passage from the Gospel of John is more than a passage of reassurance; it is actually a theological revelation designed to reinforce the concept that Christ--and Christ only--is worthy of our praise and loyalty.
John 10:1-18 is one of the great "I AM"" discourses found in John's gospel. The importance of the "I AM" passages is rooted in the book of Exodus when God reveals to Moses that God is "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14). To the people of Israel, I AM represents the one true God. The One who delivered Israel from bondage. Therefore, each time Jesus uses the phrase, " I AM," he is essentially telling his followers that he and God are one. Jesus is revealing to the people that He has been given the authority to teach by His Father in heaven. There is no one more worthy than He.
This discourse also reveals Jesus as the voice of truth. When we hear Christ speak, we know that He speaks truth. This passage forces me to ask a very important question: "In life today, do we listen to Jesus or the hired hand?"
The Hired Hand Does not Own the Sheep.
As Christians, it is important to understand that we belong to God. We do not belong to anyone else; and, God has promised to be with us always if we promise to be with Him. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the LORD says to the people of Israel (and to us today), "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
In this passage, God is telling us that all we need to do is call out to Him. Likewise, Jesus tells us in John 10 that, "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice." These two passages illustrate that we have a mutual relationship with our God. These verses illustrate that we can depend on Him to lead us on our daily journey when we call upon Him; and, we can rest assured that we will be safe while we are in His care--no one else can make this claim other than Christ.
Today, however, it is difficult to hear the voice of Jesus because of the hired hand. In the "good shepherd" example, the hired hand is put in place to care for the sheep. Jesus makes it a point to mention that the hired hand does not own the sheep; therefore, he has no true allegiance to them. The hired hand refuses to give his life for the sheep and will run away when the wolf comes to snatch the sheep.
This verse illustrates that we must differentiate between Christ and the hired hand. In life we will encounter many hired hands. Some of these hired hands may be teachers, supervisors, politicians, or public personalities. The hired hand may be the charismatic leader on television that seems to have all of the answers. The hired hand may seem like our friend and gain our trust. On the outside, it seems like he or she may have our best interests at heart, but we must keep in mind that we do not belong to the hired hands of the world. Very few leaders are willing to make a sacrifice for their sheep. Therefore, they are not true shepherds. Only the shepherd is willing to lay down His life for the sheep.
When we are looking for someone to lead us in life, it is important to listen for the only voice that cares for us. It is important for us to listen for the only voice that has been given authority from God to take care of His flock. When we are looking for someone to lead us in life, it is important to listen for the voice of truth. When we are looking for someone for someone to lead us in life, it is important for us to listen for the voice of Christ.
Whose voice are you listening for: the voice of Christ or the voice of the hired hand?