I have watched several times, as probably you have, a video that was taken from a field in Norway. In the field below the road a herd of sheep are grazing and several tourists are given the opportunity to call the sheep and see how they respond. Each tries in their own way to call the sheep but there is no response. The sheep continue to graze and don’t even lift their heads in response to the futile attempts of the tourists.
But when the shepherd, and I’m sure he is a good shepherd, begins to call, the response from the sheep is immediate. Their heads rise up, they quit they’re grazing and almost in unison they began to run towards the voice of the Shepherd. Again, certainly the man must have been a good shepherd.
Why then, from the examples of the sheep of the field, are we God’s children surprised? In the 10th Chapter of the Gospel of John, Christ told the Pharisees that the reason they hear not nor understand His voice is they are not of His sheep. Christ tells those in attendance a truth that does not diminish in importance because of the continuing years since He spoke. He says, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” How reputable would the shepherd be if he did not even know who his sheep were. And with out the intimate relationship between the sheep and a good shepherd, how would the sheep even know who their shepherd was.
I have read accounts of the shepherds of Israel, just like those that tended their sheep on the fields outside of Bethlehem that glorious night of the birth of Christ. When night came the shepherds would find a calm place, with food and water for the sheep to rest. And one by one he would call his sheep and they, heeding the call of a good shepherd, would come to his side and gently he would take oil and apply to the bruises and scratches of the sheep that they had received by grazing in the rocky fields where the resided. The good shepherd would dam up fast flowing water so the sheep would not be fearful and they could drink from pools of water that a good shepherd had provided. And a good shepherd would gently lead his sheep and the sheep would follow without hesitation. A good shepherd would also courageously defend his sheep from danger with his life. Need an example….David writes of killing a bear and a lion in defense of his sheep because truthfully he was a good shepherd.
But the sheep of the King of Kings knows and hear the voice of not just a good shepherd but they hear the voice and receive love, grace and mercy from The Good Shepherd. Christ says the hireling caring for the sheep at the moment of distress will run for his own safety because the sheep are not his. But Christ confesses in all honesty and sincerity that He will not leave His sheep because they are His and that He will even lay down His life for His sheep because He is The Good Shepherd who knows His sheep and is known of them.
What great truth is found in the gospel of John in the 10th chapter concerning The Good Shepherd. A story worth reading again and again and a story worth telling our children that they might have the understanding and knowledge that their Saviour Jesus Christ is The Good Shepherd and gave His life for all of His sheep no matter how young, no matter how old.